Good Winter Clothes for Toddlers
October 8, 2009 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend good winter clothing for 1-year-olds, especially super warm coats. We're talking months and months of ice and snow here.

It's our first midwest winter and we'd love recommendations on coats and clothes to get our 1-year-old boys (well, they turn 1 in a couple of weeks). Online or stores in the Aurora, IL area. Thanks in advance!
posted by puritycontrol to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Snowsuits are good because you don't have to worry about cold air getting into the separation between coat and pants. We had one from either LL Bean or Land's End that lasted through two children. You don't need anything more than normal winter gear unless you're going to be winter camping or something. Have fun in the snow!

One more thought - you probably know this but if you're tempted to run the car before you go somewhere to warm it up, don't do this in the garage, even with the garage door open. And really, if they're in their snowsuits, they're not going to be bothered by the car being cold.

OK, two more. Be really careful getting the kids in and out of the car when you're standing on ice. Lots of parents have fallen this way.
posted by lakeroon at 8:25 AM on October 8, 2009

last year, i pretty much decked out my 1 year old girl in blanket sleepers--the carter kind with feet-- for the winter season. i called them 'baby jumpsuits.' saved a lot of time since i didn't have to deal with shoes and/or socks, and was plenty warm.

you might get some people who'll remark about it, but the worst i ever got was 'gee i wish i could go to the grocery store in my pyjammas!'
posted by lester at 8:27 AM on October 8, 2009

Hanna Andersson makes very toasty outerwear for babies.

We're also browsing the more weatherproof snowsuits for our almost-one-year-old, including those from Patagonia and Columbia.
posted by balls at 8:34 AM on October 8, 2009

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and my mom usually bought us Land's End or L.L. Bean brand winter coats/snowsuits and fleece vests to layer underneath for extra warmth (not sure if they make this type of vest for babies, but certainly for toddlers and up). They're high quality without getting too terribly expensive. It looks like there's Land's End Outlet relatively close to you, in Lombard.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:36 AM on October 8, 2009

Snow suits that are held together with snaps from one ankle to the other are great for quick diaper changes.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 8:37 AM on October 8, 2009

Slight derail: Please don't put your babies in their carseats with their snowsuits on (or anything bulky). The carseat loses its effectiveness and is like putting them in the car with no car seat at all. Put them in layers, a onesie, a blanket sleeper, and hat, cover them with a blanket and warm the car before hand and they will be warm and toasty.

(This is true for big kids, in car seats or not, and adults as well. Puffy coats = unsafe in cars.
posted by Abbril at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2009

Abbril, do you have a cite for that?

We used a Baby Bag, basically a sleeping bag with separated legs that allows use of the safety straps in a car or stroller. The baby just slides right into the bag, which made getting into the car on the way to daycare much easier. It would be easy to make from fleece. The baby wore a reuglar jacket according to the weather, and the baby bag.
posted by theora55 at 8:56 AM on October 8, 2009


Abbril, could you cite a source for that, please? I can see how maybe having a kid in a puffy suit might make her sit less well in a carseat, but how could having a jacket on impact an adult in a captain's chair?

/end derail
posted by Aizkolari at 8:59 AM on October 8, 2009

Multiple thin layers, instead of one big heavy piece, work well for keeping little ones warm without overheating. A onesie, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a light sweater, a fleece jacket with a hood (put a hat under the hood if it's really cold) will work better than a t-shirt and a bulky jacket. There's also the plus that thinner layers will not interfere with the carseat straps the way a heavier coat will.

BabyLegs, aka baby-sized legwarmers, are a great layering option for the bottom half; they don't interfere in diaper changes like tights, you can tuck little socks into the bottom cuff, and they're just generally adorable. Add fleece pants or sweatpants over top, along with boots or shoes, and you should be good to go.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:16 AM on October 8, 2009

We are big fans of Lands End clothing for our kids. I like both their down and fleece buntings, especially since you can roll back the foot coverings once your boys get to the walking stage. And the roll back hand coverings are nice because it is darn near impossible to keep mittens on a small child. Fleece and a blanket might be good for car rides and walking in/out of places. Down might be better if you expect to spend a little more time outside.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:28 AM on October 8, 2009

Aurora, IL? You don't need "super warm" *anything*. Da Yoop, or northern Minnesota, or Alaska, etc, you need super warm.

And, like any other keeping warm answer, the answer is layers. Multiple layers are warmer and more useful than one big thick layer. Just make sure the outer layer is water/wind resistant. If you're just going from the house to the car to the store/daycare and back home again, you don't need as many layers as if you're going for a stroller ride. And if you're just going to the store, you want something you can easily open up so the kids don't get overheated. (overheating inside while wearing winter clothing is much more likely than getting slightly chilled while outside -- and probably more dangerous.) You'll probably only need a big snowsuit if you're planning on going sledding or snowman building with them -- most of the rest of the time, all you need is a jacket with a hood (or a hat) and mittens. And boots if they're walking.

My eldest was born in November in Houghton, 400 miles north of Aurora. We used a winter jacket & bibbed snowpants. We skipped the snowpants most of the time, only putting them on if we were going to be outside for a while, or if it was really cold or windy. We only used a onepiece footed snowsuit for her first year, and it was really more trouble than it was worth -- it was hard to open it up when we were inside.

Fleece blanket sleepers are great for layering over their inside clothing for quick trips out -- youngest was born in May, and I don't think he *had* a snowsuit his first winter in SE Mich, as he didn't start walking until March. Winter jacket, yes. snowsuit, no.
posted by jlkr at 9:30 AM on October 8, 2009

I would definitely not invest a lot in snowsuits for 1-year-olds. If you get around by car, they aren't going to be spending a whole lot of time outside in the cold. Even when you take them out to play in the snow, I can't see them needing any special gear beyond basic jackets and snowpants. We live in the northern Chicago suburbs, and our son has done fine with Target snowpants and jacket. The snowpants got worn maybe a half dozen times at most. I mean think about it .. unless you walk everywhere and push them in strollers, which doesn't sound likely to me in Aurora in the winter, they're going to be outside for a few minutes between house & car and then car & destination. A few layers with an inexpensive winter jacket on the outside should be just fine. You'll take off whatever they're wearing once they're inside.

Our son is 3 now and he still spends at best about 20 minutes playing outside on a really cold day. He's happiest in the car seat when he's wearing a t-shirt, sweater and a not too bulky jacket. Really - you don't need anything you can't get at any regular store like Target, Childrens Place or Carters. Don't spend a lot of this now. When they're older and actually spending real time outside, playing, building snow forts, waiting for the school bus, then you'll want the good stuff. I really don't think you need it yet.
posted by Kangaroo at 9:35 AM on October 8, 2009

MEC has great stuff. Aside: I love the word "bunting".
posted by Go Banana at 9:38 AM on October 8, 2009

On the car seat jacket issue, this article summarizes a few expert recommendations. Something like the Baby Bag mentioned above is a VERY bad idea in a car seat, as is anything like a Bundle Me. Snowsuits also wouldn't be recommended in the car. I have no idea about adult safety, but the same logic might apply - that the layers would compress in an accident, making you slip right out of the shoulder restraint, or placing the belt in the wrong spot to protect you.

Anyway, the standard recommendation is to put the kid in the car in their indoor clothes, fasten the harness, then put the coat on them backwards. Probably easier said then done with a 1 year old, though. I'd just use a big blanket to get to the car and inside the car, then put the jacket on at the destination.

On coats, I'd look for something with a satiny type of sleeve lining so it's easy to get on and off. Flannel linings catch on everything and 1 yr olds are not interested in making your life easier. My kid turned one last winter and he really didn't use his coat much. A lot of kids don't really start playing outside until they are around 15-18 months old - they can walk confidently and are big enough to climb on baby-sized playground equipment. I know there are some kids who are on the more active side and are doing that stuff sooner, but 15-18 mo seems pretty typical. For you, this means that you can probably hold off on snowsuits/pants until they are on clearance.
posted by pekala at 9:55 AM on October 8, 2009

Aizkolari: I don't have a firm source, at least without googling. It was just something discussed while I was doing my Car Seat Technician Certification. It's basically because the straps are supposed to be flat against your body. Anything inbetween lessens the effectiveness. You also don't want the straps to be twisted as they can cut into your body in event of a collision.
posted by Abbril at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2009

A few links regarding snowsuits and carseats :



I'm sure there is more with furthur digging but the kids are demanding attention :)
posted by Abbril at 10:15 AM on October 8, 2009

Keep a blanket made from a double layer of polar fleece in the car. Worst thing about midwestern winters is having to get in that freezing cold car and waiting for it to warm up. A blanket to wrap up in makes it warm and somehow adventurous as well. (Mush, mom, mush!)
posted by nax at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2009

For what it's worth -- we had a nice Lands' End down bunting and a Bean snowsuit which saw barely any use, and I had a baby sling and a big down parka a bit bigger than my normal size. And a wool balaclava, like this. Kid spent two winters under my coat. A bit difficult with twins if just one parent is around, yes. But it's a good option when you can swing it; certainly it was convenient, and nice for all concerned.
posted by kmennie at 6:41 PM on October 8, 2009

I'd do a fleece bunting that has split legs.
posted by k8t at 8:30 PM on October 8, 2009

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