Myths and Tips About Safe Play Outside During Cold Weather

blue snowflakes Myths and Tips About Safe Play Outside During Cold Weather

There are many myths versus truths when it comes to staying warm and playing outside on a frigid winter day. Just like the myth that it takes you longer to bundle up than the amount you actually play outside. Wait. That is a truth for me. I just spent 15 minutes getting the kids and myself all dressed to go outside and play in the snow for a whopping 5 minutes. Insert eye roll. The things we do as parents to make our children, or at least in my case, one of the two, happy.

Getting ready to go outside when it is cold, snowy and the wind is blowing is a task of its own. Plus, we are willingly going out there to brave the elements and play. The fresh air is good for everyone, plus the little bit of vitamin D that we may get from the few peaks of the sun is great too. But I often worry about little fingers, toes and noses when we are out in the cold.

Don’t fear the weather. Get outside but be sure to follow the truths instead of the myths!

Myth: It doesn’t matter what you wear. Just layer up.

Truth: From your head to your toes, layers are super important. If you are planning on staying outside for an extended period of time, you should also consider what material your layers are made of. Cotton, a typical everyday kids clothing material, is not as warm as wool or fleece. Even silk is warmer, believe it or not. Remember not to get carried away on the layers. Usually three shirts, two pairs of pants and two pairs of socks work just fine under a snowsuit. Don’t forget to wear a good pair of snow boots too. Traction makes a big difference when you are trying to walk around on slippery ice and snow.

Kid Safety: Myths and Tips About Safe Play Outside During Cold Weather

Myth: Most of your body heat escapes through your head.

Truth: Cam hates wearing hats for long periods of time. Sometimes he does want to wear a ball cap, but when we were getting ready to go outside today, he wanted nothing to do with his snow hat. It is important to keep our heads covered at all times because body heat does escape from our noggins, but not at a faster rate than any other extremity on our bodies.

You should also take precautions for little ears and hands. Make sure hats cover the ears or get some ear warmers/ear muffs. And mittens are better than gloves because you keep your fingers together. There is nothing worse than frozen ears and hands!

Myth: You’ll get sick if you play outside in the cold too long.

Truth: You don’t get sick from playing outside. You get sick from viruses. I think we all should know that by now. Grandma was wrong when she said I would catch a cold from going outside with wet hair! But you do need to take care of yourself when you are playing outside in the cold wear. Make sure that you are warm at all times and are staying hydrated (sure…eat the snow).

Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen in the winter.

Truth: Just because the sun isn’t shining as bright as it does in the summer doesn’t mean you aren’t being exposed! The sun’s UV rays bounce off of snow and ice, still hitting your uncovered, unprotected areas. Don’t forget that if you are up on a ski mountain, you are also closer to the sun! And the ozone layer is thinner during the colder seasons so it is protecting you less. Let’s not forget about windburn while we are on the sunscreen subject. There are sunscreens available that can also help protect your skin from windburn. So lather up, and don’t forget to re-apply, even in the winter time

What are some other myths versus truths that you have heard of for playing outside when it is cold out? Do you brave the elements and play in the wintertime with your children?

The Choosy Mommy came to life as I began writing for the Choosy Kids ( blog from the mom perspective. We also have bloggers who are teachers, nutritionist, pediatricians, dental experts, etc. and I share my two cents on food choices, physical activity, and daily health routines plus so much more! I have a ton to share but didn’t want to take over the Choosy Kids blog so I decided it was best to grow The Choosy Mommy brand.

36 thoughts on “Myths and Tips About Safe Play Outside During Cold Weather

  1. We still try to explain this to the grandparents – they are not going to get sick from running outside for a minute without a coat! HAHA! Sometimes when they are sick they need some fresh air even more (assuming the correct coat and winter gear of course)!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      YES! Fresh air is amazing for everything!

  2. I live in Florida so snow isn’t an issue here lol. I do really not like still hearing people,say that going outside when it’s cold will make you sick. I figured everyone k,we that wasn’t true by now. My daughter insisted on going out without a jacket at a,family get together,this weekend and I let her, my sister about flipped that she would get sick.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Isn’t it crazy what people think? Glad you know better 😉

  3. These are great tips! We definitely need this information this time of year.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Yup…always a good reminder 😉

  4. This will help me prepare for our winter storm coming through!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Stay safe!

  5. I still believed that one about heat escaping from the head, so it’s good to know that’s only a myth. It definitely takes us longer to get ready than we spend outside most of the time, but they enjoy it, so we do it again and again. 🙂

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I think that is the one people believe the most. You def. can’t keep all of your boys inside everyday so bundle up and have fun!

  6. Sunscreen in winter is so often overlooked. Great tips!


    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy


  7. hmmm, Interesting read. I don’t like going outside in the cold period but my kiddos do. Great information

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I don’t really like it either but we do what we have to do, right?

  8. I actually believed all of those myths ?? thanks for sharing!!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Well I am glad I shined some light on the truth for you 🙂

  9. Thank you for mentioning that colds come from germs, not temperature! my mom still bugs me, a grown woman, about bundling up with hats and stuff when its cold out(or going to bed with wet hair)

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Hahaha! I can remember my grandmother throwing a fit when I wouldn’t wear socks in the winter time. My mother didn’t care but of course, she commented about how my kids don’t wear socks either.

  10. I’m glad you talked about sunscreen. It is such an important item year round.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Thanks. People tend to forget about it in the colder seasons but it is still necessary!

  11. Ashly J

    Great tips. We don’t see snow here in AZ but still great to know if we ever decide to go elsewhere.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I wish we didn’t get snow. It is actually 60 degrees here today in western PA, but it is supposed to be wet and miserable this weekend, getting colder as we go.

  12. So so true. We live in North Dakota where the wind chill is scary. Last week it got down to -30. With 3 kids under 5, my winter safety tip here is to stay inside most of the time, ha ha. When the weather warms up a bit I will gladly keep your tips in mind to venture outside.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Yea…I would be staying inside with that weather too! There is def. a limit to when you can go outside safely. Anytime I see negatives, we are not braving those elements for sure!

  13. Very helpful post! I always forget to use sunscreen in the winter, but it’s so important, especially if going skiing! You’re right, we don’t get cold from just being out in the cold. Thanks for this!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I just think of all of the rosey red cheeks I see kids wearing these days and think about how sunscreen could’ve helped to keep them from getting chapped, wind burned or even sun burned!

  14. I always believed the one about heat escaping through the head! Great information!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Yup, me too. Of course, if you have less hair, or a smaller head, sure, more heat is likely to escape from your head, but not really faster than other parts of your body.

  15. You can’t get sick from getting cold–I’ve been saying this for years! Germs make you sick, not the cold. Yay, so glad someone else finally agrees. Simple science, lol.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Haha…yea, but you know people will always believe this one!

  16. I never know how much is too much when buddling my little guy up and I always forget sunscreen!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Just go with your gut feeling, but pay attention to the materials you are putting on him. Remember that some are warmer than others.

  17. Totally agree with the importance of what you layer up in 🙂 I need to get myself some new show boots because I know little man is going to enjoy playing out there this year!! He’s all set with all of his gear but it’s been years since I’ve had the right stuff for myself.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Isn’t it funny how we make sure the kids are super prepared but we forget all about ourselves?

  18. This winter we have been shut ins mostly because it has been cold with very little snow. But then I remember that we all need a little fresh air sometimes so it’s worth it to bundle the kiddo up even so I can get out of the house a little.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Totally agree! It is so worth it once you finally get out there!

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