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Is it somehow worse for a child to be underdressed in cold weather than to be overdressed in warm weather?

just a random thought i had this morning when i dropped my kindergartner off in the carline. our temp this morning was 41 which is COLD for floridians. hers is a uniform school so she wore her long pants, long sleeve shirt, and a big bubble jacket with a penguin beanie. obviously the beanie and jacket can be easily removed if she gets hot later.

but i saw a little girl getting off the bus with a thin jacket and shorts on.. and im like wow, what kind of mother would let their kid go out in this weather like that?

then again, its suppose to warm up to the 70's today. so when i pick my daughter up from school, she's going to be hot in her long pants and long sleeve shirt- LOL. i guess i dont have room to judge.

why is it seemingly worse to see a child underdressed in cold weather than overdressed in warm weather? is it perhaps because the overdressed child can roll up their sleeves or remove layers whereas the underdressed child doesn't have any options for staying warm outside if they don't have enough layers?


Asked by tnm786 at 8:54 AM on Jan. 24, 2013 in Parenting Debate

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Answers (14)
  • Yep, just like you said: If you're overdressed, you can take off layers or roll things up or whatever to cool down, but if you're underdressed, you're stuck.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 9:14 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • Honestly, I rarely see kids overdressed for the weather, more often I see kids underdressed

    Answer by leksismommy at 5:33 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • It shouldn't be worse but it feels worse. I knew a child in WA who wore shorts and sleeveless shirts year round. If it snowed she would wear a snow suit and underneath shorts and sleeveless tee. Some kids like that. I used to put sweats over my daughters shorts and let her take them off when days were cold in the morning and hot by afternoon.

    Answer by booklover545 at 11:51 AM on Jan. 30, 2013

  • In that kind of weather being over dressed isnt a big deal because the time period is not long before you would have her home and she could change if she is to hot if it is 70 outside. Like you already said layers can be removed and sleves pushed up. Now I would disagree if it were close to 100 and there was a young child bundled up. Then your body has a harder time getting rid of the heat and you risk heat stroke among other complications related to heat. For me knowing that it would warm up a bit I would have my child in pants a jacket and short sleve. That way a jacket can be used in the morning when it is cold yet when it is hot they at least have short sleves on so its not to hot....rolling sleves dosnt always help cool you down lol. But over all not bad....guess im no help LOL

    Answer by Shelii at 7:22 AM on Jan. 28, 2013

  • 41 is not cold. Heck we ran around in shorts and shirtsleaves in that weather all the time.

    However. Short and shirt and a heavier jacket would have been my choice if that was cold to me and my child.

    I think you can always take it off but you can't put it on if you don;t have it.

    On the other hand, she was going to be 5 minutes going into the school, then in school until lunch so she probably would be warm enough. Parents and child's call.

    Answer by Dardenella at 2:03 PM on Jan. 26, 2013

  • Maybe that little girl recently moved from a colder climate cuz my kids would have been dressed pretty lightly if it was 40 degrees in the winter. They'd think spring had hit!! But to answer your question, I dress in layers all the time because I equally hate being cold and shivery to being hot and sweaty!!

    Answer by Nimue930 at 1:35 PM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • I think a lot has to do with your temps and what you're used to. Growing up it wasn't a big deal to wear shorts and a jacket to school. Everyone was doing it. We live in California where our winter lasts approximately one month, most of which falls during Christmas break. My 6th grader wears basketball shorts under his jeans already so he can strip down during school so he's not hot. He gets hot fast regardless of outside temp, so he was doing this when our temps were below freezing too.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 12:12 PM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • the underdressed child doesn't have any options for staying warm outside if they don't have enough layers~~~That's it, right there, for me anyway.

    I'm constantly fighting my husband about how many layers my kids need to have on. HE is comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt in a snow storm. It needs to be 70+ before I'll pull out the shorts. Because HE'S comfortable in less in cold weather he thinks the kids are the same. They're not. The few times I've let him "win" the kids cuddle up to me as close as they can get because they wind up freezing.

    It is better/easier to have it and not need it, than to not have it and wish you did.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 11:35 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • As others have said, it's a lot easier to dress in layers and remove the layers as needed if the weather warms up. So if a child is over dressed (particularly if there are layers that can be removed) it's better than having only shorts and a t-shirt when it's 20 degrees out and no other way to warm up. I live in a part of CO where it can be very warm one day and cold and snowy the next. Sometimes it's warmish in the morning and then a storm hits mid afternoon and it cools down fast. We have to pay close attention to the weather, and dress in layers. I've seen kids walking to school when it's 20 degrees in shorts and a long sleeve shirt... that's all, no coat, no jacket, nothing. Drives me crazy.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 10:56 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • It gets to be in the 100s before school lets out for the year and there's no AC on the bus. They come home red, thirsty, miserable. At least in the winter they can remove clothing if it gets too warm. When we did live in cold climate, they were dressed as weather appropriate as possible. The schools would close if it got too cold though.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 9:43 AM on Jan. 24, 2013