Kids and the Head Heat Loss Myth

If you are fortunate enough in this life to have children you are also well aware of all of the difficulties involved in raising them. For young children especially it can be trying at times just to get them dressed to get out of the door. If you live in a place that is cold and wet most of the year than just add a few more levels of difficulty for those extra layers of clothing they need to wear.

But was your mom was right when she told you that you need to wear a hat when you go outside to keep your head warm. What about when people told you that you lose most of your body heat from your head? It seems that it is a little more complicated than that. You actually don’t lose the majority of heat from your head but it’s more of a variable rate of something between 20%-35% depending on how cold it is outside, if you are exercising, and how big your head is. While the old saying is not really true it is more true for some people than others. Newborn babies lost more heat from their head because their heads are so much bigger in comparison to their heads as compared to adults.

Of course wearing a hat is not only for places that are cold. Protecting your children from the sun is just as important as protecting them from the cold. Though I don’t have fair skin or problems with sunburns my daughter turned out to be very fair. My wife is very diligent about keeping a sun hat on her head when she is out in the sun we vacation in places like Hawaii. I on the other hand don’t think twice about it since I tan easily and have dark hair. Although, the older I get the less dark hair there seems to be on my head so I may have to start thinking about that more as time goes on.

So how do you get your kids to wear hats? One of the best ways I’ve seen is to get them “fun” hats. While this won’t work for newborns once your child is old enough to be more aware you can get them to wear hats that may be like characters they like or are more like “dress up” hats. My daughter loves to pretend she is a princess and normally princesses don’t wear hats but we can get her to wear a pink cowgirl hat at least. I’m sure if I had a son I could get him to wear an Indiana Jones hat. And then there are those really fun animal hats that I see a lot of kids wearing these days. If it’s fun, kids are way more likely to wear something on their head than for reasons of sheer pragmatism. And tough they may not get hypothermia the first time they walk out of the house without a hat on, it’s probably still a good idea the younger your child is.


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