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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

  • yes exactly, you answered your own question :P lol its somewhat easy to cool down if you're over dressed in hot weather, but what options do you have really if you're under dressed in cold weather, especially if you're not near home or a place to get more layers to cover up with! Also, i'm lol at your "cold weather" of 41 degrees... I would KILL for 40 degree weather right now, seriously...

    Answer by DreainCO at 9:09 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • lol i know that parts of our country are facing unseasonably cold weather with some temps reaching negative 50, so im not trying to rub it in! but when we normally see highs of 70-80, 40 is a biiiiig difference!

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 9:12 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • Maybe it is because of where I live, or that I don't get cold easily or that I have seen the effects of heatstroke, I think they are equally as bad and dressing too warmly can be worse. If kids are sent to school in jeans and long sleeve shirts during the hotter months they have no more ability to strip down and cool off than kids sent to school in shorts in winter have to warm up. For me it is easier to warm up once I am inside than it is for me to cool down. DS wears shorts in cooler weather because it gets hot during the day, plus his school is always hot.

    Answer by kmath at 9:33 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • I have to force our middle son to wear a coat, and not just a hoodie... It's 13 degrees this morning, but he's so hot blooded he sweats when it's cold out..
    It's much worse to be under dressed in the Winter... Unless someone gives you their coat, you're pretty much out of luck... Summer you can just take off the layers...

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 9:34 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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