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Toddler winter

They’re on the move, quite a different stage from the last cold season, so you’ll need a whole new approach to their winter wardrobe

One thing’s for sure. Your toddler’s energy and enthusiasm for getting outdoors and letting off steam won’t wane in winter, even if yours does. Here are our tips for keeping them warm in the cold.

1. Suited…

Once your toddler is up and about, snowsuits and puddle (that’s right, puddle) suits really come into their own.

"It’s immensely satisfying to watch your toddler running through puddles or playing in snow, knowing their snug and cosy inside layers will stay dry."

It’s a good idea to choose one with a zip that runs all the way to the ankle. You want watertight but also easy access for that urgent potty visit or nappy change. Velcro around the sleeves and legs is good for easy adjustability, while elastic is super secure too. Coat and trouser combinations work fine and can be easier for quick changes.

All suits will wash well but might take some time to dry. It’s also worth thinking about choosing a darker colour or patterned style that won’t show up every single stain from misplaced food. Whatever you choose, waterproof is key – toddlers are no less likely to fall over in winter than they are in summer.

2. …and booted

It’s a good idea to have some vaguely rainproof shoes or boots like those with closed, leather uppers for everyday wear. And a good grip to help wobbly legs on slippery surfaces.

Depending on the size of your toddler, wellies may or may not be suitable (or even exist in their size) because they don’t provide the same support as fitted shoes. You also don’t need to, ahem, splash out on snow-boots just yet – wait until your little one is ready for longer hikes.

3. Winter warmers

Toddler coats come in many shapes and sizes and there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Comfort needs to feature over cute (sorry). Try lots on them, or as many as they’ll let you.

Softer puffa and parka type styles might be more comfortable than a stiff woollen collared number. Those with a hood will keep their neck snug too. Thin wind or waterproof layers work well for milder days or when they have lots of layers on underneath.

Essentially, you’re in danger of your toddler ending up with more coats than you….be smart and check out charity shops, NCT Nearly New Sales and borrow from friends. Or buy a size up so you can eke out their use for a couple of winters.

Just like when they were a baby, the best woolly or insulated hats are the ones that cover their ears and cheeks. The bad news is that gloves or mittens are no easier to keep on a two year old than a two month old. Mittens have the advantage of being warmer and (slightly) easier to keep on, but with gloves, they can use their fingers better.

Either way, the old connecting piece of wool or elastic through the arm sleeves is invaluable. Just as you, your parents and your grandparents had. It’s also a good idea to tuck gloves or mittens under coat sleeves to help keep them in place.

4. Too hot? Too cold? They’re the boss

With babies, the ‘one layer more’ rule is the way to go – check what you’re wearing and add a layer (American Academy of Paediatrics, 2016). Your toddler might need an extra layer too, or the same as you now they’re on the move. Just like adults, some feel the cold more than others.

"It’s still a good idea to check they’re not too hot or cold every now and again by touching their tummy – a much better indicator than their hands (NHS Sheffield, n.d.). "

If they’re sweaty remove a layer or their hat or gloves (NHS Sheffield, n.d.). Chances are though, they’ll be running around keeping themselves plenty warm enough – and no doubt you will too.

5. Be prepared

There isn’t a parent in the world who hasn’t had to deal with cold, wet feet, hands and more at some point over winter. However hard you’ve tried. Always have a spare change of clothes on call, just in case. When your toddler’s had their fill of winter fun, a warm, dry pair of socks or trousers will keep the chills at bay.


Make sure your toddler isn’t wearing anything bulky in the car. If there is too much padding between them and their car seat straps, the seat might not be as safe. Cars can be icy cold to get into in the wintertime, but they soon warm up.

If you’re still worried that your toddler is cold, you can always lay a blanket over them after they’re safely strapped in. But also be aware of overheating when a well-wrapped-up toddler spends time in a padded and insulated car seat.

This page was last reviewed in November 2018

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby. To find out when an NCT nearly new sale is happening near you, search here.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). Tips for dressing your baby. Available from: [Accessed 5 Nov 2018]

NHS Sheffield. Safe sleep for your baby. Available from:[web][1].pdf [Accessed 19 Oct 2018]

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