WSJ: Should you Fight With Teens to Dress for Cold Weather?
YES! warm kids study better and stay focused and HAPPY!
WSJ: A pediatrician has the facts for parents tired of coaxing their kids into warmer clothes
Core of the Matter
Growing kids’ hearts beat faster than those of grown-ups, and their metabolisms are generally quicker. But contrary to popular belief, teens’ hyperactive hormones don’t elevate core temperature above the usual 98.6 degrees. Children also typically have more body surface relative to body mass, which means they can get cold faster than adults, Dr. Shu says. Older children who refuse to wear proper cold-weather gear may be irritable and unable to focus on school because they are too cold.
“If a body is fighting to stay warm, it is stealing away energy that could be focused on other things, like fighting germs and concentrating,” she says.
Wet Is Worse
Dr. Shu and her colleagues point out that being cold won’t cause a child to be sick—exposure to viruses will. Being wet and cold is a bigger risk, since internal temperatures can drop as moisture evaporates off the skin. Dr. Shu recommends that children who spend a lot of time outside wear thin, wicking fabrics close to the skin, then add a cotton layer to absorb the moisture. On top of that goes at least one other layer, preferably thick.
To motivate fashion-conscious teens, she suggests looking to sports stars for inspiration. “The Olympics are on right now, and you can see how the athletes cover up in big parkas as soon as they finish their events,” she says. “They know they perform better when their bodies and muscles are warm.”
Pick Your Battle
Most older children aren’t at high risk for hypothermia or frostbite, since they aren’t exposed to cold for prolonged periods, Dr. Shu says. Gloves, hats and scarves are always a good idea. But if she were to pick one essential, it would be boots.