This article about the Best Toddler and Baby Winter Gear was written by baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
I live in Canada, so I know first-hand how to keep a baby warm in winter. I can tell you from experience, getting outside with a baby in winter is not only possible, but can be very enjoyable. If you are well prepared with the right toddler and baby cold weather gear, you’ll be able to truly enjoy winter with your little one, knowing they are comfortable and warm.
Since I live in the Canadian Rockies and have been through some very cold winters with my babies. You can rest assured that I’ve tried many things to find what works best to keep my babies warm in the winter.
As the American Academy of Pediatrics tells us, littles ones are more at risk to get cold because their small bodies lose heat more quickly. Especially if they’re having fun, they may be less likely to come inside when they’re getting too cold.
In this post I share how to pack a winter vacation with a baby or toddler. I’ve included all of my must have baby winter gear which you can use as your winter packing list for baby. Many of these winter essentials for babies are small enough to pack, while some of the larger items are more suitable for road trips with a baby.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Baby and Toddler Winter Gear:
My Favorite Toddler and Baby Winter Gear
Not only is this winter wear for babies perfect for traveling to Canada, like this trip to Ottawa in winter with a baby, it’s suitable for ANY winter vacation with baby. As a baby travel website, this post does talk about packing for a family winter vacation, but these tips for dressing your baby for cold weather aren’t just for traveling. You can make use of all of these tips for keeping babies warm in winter at home and on staycations.
Either way, this post about my personal favorite winter gear for babies will ensure you can enjoy being outside while keeping your baby warm in winter.
First up in our essential baby winter gear is a base layer. Keeping your baby warm in winter means dressing your baby in layers.
Wool is the perfect base layer for keeping your baby warm in winter because it’s soft, breathable and warm. It can also absorb moisture and still feel warm when wet. Go for a full base layer of merino wool, then use fleece or merino wool knit leggings as a warmth layer on top.
Keep your baby or toddler extra warm with these reusable, eco-friendly hand and foot warmers. I don't love the single-use hand & toe warmers, especially for babies and toddlers and I especially don't want to put them next to their sensitive skin. Made from natural fur, Aurora Heat's warmers work as natural insulators, helping retain body heat that is already being generated. With Aurora Heat warmers, I never have to worry about my baby overheating or burning.
These Aurora Heat hand and foot warmers aren't bulky and are the perfect solution for extra warmth. Put these inside your baby's booties or your toddlers mitts to provide extra warmth. Their kids warmers are well-suited for 0-8 year-olds and last for years on end (Aurora Heat's first customers from 2015 are still keeping warm with theirs!), so they serve as a great hand-me-down for outdoor adventures between your children.
Warm socks are definitely one of our baby winter essentials. Again, we recommend going with a wool sock for extra warmth. You’ll want to put extra layers on your baby’s extremities, especially if you are carrying your baby in a carrier outside your jacket.
Always keep in mind that your baby isn’t moving while being carried, so your baby won’t be generating the same amount of body heat as you.
A jacket extender for using a baby carrier in the winter is the best way to ensure your baby stays warm. I love jacket extenders as they enable you to continue to wear your favorite winter jacket throughout your pregnancy PLUS it continues to work over your baby carrier.
The soft shell works great to block the wind, so it’s great for chilly spring or fall days too. An added bonus is that it packs small for travel and you don’t have to pack an extra jacket for when you aren’t baby wearing.
Other great features of jacket extenders: •The zip adapters are great to ensure it will work with all your jackets (Dad’s included!). •Having your baby tucked in the warmth of your jacket will help keep your baby’s face warm in the winter weather.
A coat extender for a baby carrier should be on every list of best winter gear for infants.
For days when you are using the stroller instead of baby wearing, a warm stroller footmuff is one of the best ways to keep your baby warm in the stroller in the winter.
For our Canadian friends, we love the MEC stroller bag. I used this warm stroller bag in our stroller, in a sled for skating and even in our hiking backpack carrier. The stroller bunting bags are often large enough that they are also some of the best winter gear for toddlers.
A fleece bunting suit is typically enough outerwear for your baby when in a stroller footmuff. On warmer days, just indoor clothes may be good enough. On extra cold days, use a snowsuit and a weather shield for the stroller.
With a jacket extender and a stroller bunting bag for keeping babies warm in the winter, a fleece bunting suit will be enough on most days. In fact, a fleece bunting suit was likely my most used piece of baby winter gear.
I recommend getting a bunting suit with fold over cuffs for two reasons:
•It ensures full body coverage (i.e. pant legs won’t ride up and expose skin to the elements).
A snowsuit can be really useful baby winter gear, especially on mild winter days when you can carry your baby outside of your jacket. If your baby is crawling and likes to crawl around in the snow, you’ll get plenty of use out of a waterproof snowsuit.
You’ll want a waterproof snowsuit for dressing a toddler for winter. For extra cold days, you can use a toddler fleece bunting underneath the snowsuit.
A snowsuit or fleece bunting with fold over cuffs may be enough for your baby on mild days. This will be especially true if you are baby wearing in your jacket or using a stroller bunting bag. For extra chilly days, keep your baby’s feet toasty with some booties.
These Stonz booties are water and wind-resistant to keep the wind and cold out. With the adjustable toggles, they won’t fall off and you can put them on right over the fold over cuffs on the bunting suit. They also have soft, skid-resistant soles recommended for developing feet. These are perfect boots to add to your toddler cold weather gear too.
Even if the temperature is not that cold outside, it’s important to block the wind since your baby’s face will still be exposed. A weather shield for strollers is important winter gear for baby, as it is the best way to keep them warm in a stroller. Even in -25°C (-13°F) weather, my kids were still toasty warm inside the stroller when we used a weather shield along with all our other recommended winter gear for babies.
Any list of cold weather baby gear wouldn't be complete without a beanie hat. For a winter hat for babies, I look for ones that fasten under the chin either with a tie or with Velcro. This will help prevent your baby from taking it off.
For babies, the fold over cuffs on the fleece bunting or snowsuit are likely enough to keep your baby’s hands warm. For crawling babies and toddlers, I highly recommend the Stonz Mittz based on my winter experience with my babies. I love that they don’t have thumbs so they are easy to put on and will keep your baby’s hands warm and dry.
Packing a set of extra mitts is always a good idea to make sure you have a dry pair and in case one gets misplaced.
One of the best infant winter essentials is a car seat cover. This allows you to put your baby in the car seat with only your baby’s clothes, covered with a blanket. The car seat cover will offer extra protection from the wind and cold. This is great for quick moves from the car to stroller.
For extra cold days, you may need to put an extra warmth layer on your baby once you are ready to move your baby out of the car. Snowsuits shouldn’t be used in the car seat when your baby is riding in the car.
The best stroller for snow is one with large wheels, like your favorite jogging stroller. The large wheels will enable you to push right through the snow and it will be useful for taking your baby skating! I had a BOB Stroller for my kids and thought it performed great in the winter.
As mentioned previously, using a baby carrier in winter is one of the best ways to keep your baby warm (especially if using a baby wearing jacket). Your baby carrier for winter doesn’t need to be anything different than what you would typically use.
While I prefer a jacket extender or baby wearing jacket for keeping baby warm in a baby carrier, you can also get a baby carrier cover. This winter baby gear can give your little one some extra protection from the elements and is small enough to pack for winter travel with a baby.
I still recommend getting your baby a snowsuit if you’ll be wearing your baby in a carrier outside of your jacket.
Blankets, blankets and more blankets. You’ll never have more blankets than when you have a baby. Always pack a few extra blankets as they can work wonders for adding some extra warmth. You can use them to tuck around your baby carrier or to put on your baby in the stroller.
Don’t forget about your own hands! You’ve spent so much time worrying about keeping your baby comfortable in the cold weather, now it's time to take care of you! Hands can get really cold pushing a stroller, but these stroller mitts will help keep them toasty warm.
While not for dressing your baby, traction devices for your boots are essential winter gear when walking around with your baby in a carrier. If you are going to encounter icy patches on the pathway, keep both you and your baby safe with some extra traction. We used the Kahtoola microspikes but those were more for hiking with babies and toddlers while carrying them.
How To Keep Baby Warm in Winter
You may have noticed that I consistently recommend dressing your baby in layers. Layers are the easiest way to dress your baby for the winter because you can adjust as necessary. The rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one layer more than you will be wearing.
You also want to make sure that if you are carrying your baby, you aren’t sweating too much and getting your baby wet and cold.
It’s important to keep the cold wind off your baby and protect any exposed skin. You can easily do this by using a jacket extender to wear your baby in your coat or use a weather shield on a stroller. Sometimes when the weather is awful, you just might need to delay your activity for another day.
Regardless of how you get your baby around (stroller, carrier or sled), check on your baby frequently and adjust the layers if your baby is too hot or too cold. Always keep in mind that for many of these outdoor winter activities, your baby will not be moving and won’t be generating any body heat.
So now you know how all the winter gear for babies that a Canadian mom uses to keep her little ones warm in the cold. I hope you can use this baby winter gear to get outside and enjoy being in a winter wonderland!
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.