Did you know babies do not shiver?
To ensure a baby is warm, not cold, or hot for that matter, their chest and back should be checked regularly to see that they are warm and dry to the touch.
The research on warmth and babies and children indicates that for the first several years of life they have accelerated metabolic rates. This means they naturally feel warm unless they are close to being hypothermic.
When babies and children are cool they are weakening more than their immune systems, they are also compromising their potential “growth.” This is because energy used, including in the development of their brains, heart and all their organs will be transferred to managing their body temperature. With this understanding we insulate our children in two light breathable layers, top and bottom, allowing for the removal of one layer. The children’s tops are tucked in at the waist to keep the liver heat in.
The ideal fabrics are the natural materials of cotton, silk and wool. The synthetic materials such as polyester are avoided because they trap sweat against the body and create a chill.
Furthermore, infant’s heads and feet should be covered in all but the hottest of conditions. Hats, caps, bonnets are for all seasons and protect infants sensitive brains from outdoor sun exposure to indoor air conditioning and all temperatures in between. This covering of the head, regardless of fashion, is paramount, particularly during children’s first year of life when they quickly absorb their environment or lose heat and during this time of tremendous brain growth. This first year of brain growth is compared in equivalence to the same huge amount as the entire rest of their life. Cotton socks and woolen slippers are recommended for the feet indoors.
As children grow they need our help with their awareness of warmth as they do not develop this sense of their own body temperature until age 9. It helps to routine them, that a hat and coat will be worn whenever the weather is cool. In our home we had a thermometer with a child on it, wearing various clothing depending upon the temperature, which effectively informed our children. It also helps to encourage children to know that they will have more energy to play better, run faster, and of course, have more fun when their body is not using it’s energy to stay warm. Our support in providing our children with a feeling and sense of warmth strengthens their immunity and builds healthy organs, a lifetime gift.