My mother used to tell us to put a hat on to go outside to play in the winter because we lose most of our heat through our heads.
It turns out that’s not entirely true.
While a hat can definitely prevent the heat loss that occurs through the head, and therefore keep you warmer, we don’t actually lose MOST of our body heat through our head.
Yes, there are people who actually study these things.
Jolie Bookspan is one such person. Through her work designing rigorous experiments for military survival training, she has found out that we really lose less than 20-30% of our body heat through the head. (Interestingly, the colder it is, the higher the percentage of heat lost through the head, she tells us. At zero degrees Centigrade, we could lose as much as 35% of our body heat through our heads! That percentage also depends on what you’re doing: if you’re exercising outside, it then becomes a smaller percentage.)
Where did the head-heat-loss myth come from?
The Guardian reports a new study that debunks the popular myth. The site tells us, “The myth is thought to have arisen through a flawed interpretation of a vaguely scientific experiment by the US military in the 1950s. In those studies, volunteers were dressed in Arctic survival suits and exposed to bitterly cold conditions. Because it was the only part of their bodies left uncovered, most of their heat was lost through their heads.”
However, in response to the new study mentioned in the Guardian, Kenneth J Collins, a clinical physiologist, brings up a concern. What if people, particularly the elderly, forego hats if they learn that this myth is actually false? The study, he says, ignores the fact that cooling on the head and face actually can have important bodily effects. It seems that cool air on the face can cause systemic cardiovascular reflex responses, and that body temperature can be selectively influenced by cooling of the head and face.
Remember, babies’ heads are bigger, relatively
So, while it may be true we don’t lose MOST of our body heat through the head, 20-30% is still a big number. Imagine what this means for babies, who have even bigger heads relative to their body size, and therefore more surface area from which heat can escape.
So, don’t skip the baby hat when you’re going out on a chilly day!
My son is obsessed with toothbrushes. I’ve had to move my husband’s and mine out of the drawer in the bathroom where I’ve kept them for years, because he goes and gets them – and then brushes everything with them.
He will take the tube of toothpaste and pretend to squeeze some out onto the toothbrush. Then he waves it around vaguely near his mouth, probably thinking he’s brushing his teeth. Then he’s off and running with the toothbrush firmly clenched in his chubby little hand.
He now has about 3 toothbrushes stashed around the house and car. He carries one with him into my older son’s preschool during drop-off and pick-up. (The teacher said he could be obsessed with worse things, right?)
I’ve heard of babies having strange loveys: a water bottle (oh that crinkly sound!). A shoe. But I’d never seen it for myself. My first baby never became attached to anything in particular.
But as is often the case, my second baby is SO different from the first.
The foam baseball bat was the first lovey to go everywhere with him. Then when that went missing, it became a bubble wand.
We tried getting him attached to a proper lovey. He had a little plush frog that attached to his pacifier that he was supposed to form an emotional bond with. (It was supposed to help wean him off the pacifier. You just remove the paci and hope they’re happy with only the frog. My son just laughed as he tried to suck on the spot where the pacifier had been attached. And then cried for the real thing when he really wanted it.)
That frog has hopped off somewhere and my son could care less. So now we’re going with toothbrushes. At least he doesn’t want to sleep with it!
What about your kids? What do they have for loveys?
I just dropped off my complete cloth diaper stash to be sold on consignment at the local Just Between Friends sale.
When you participate in these events, you place your items on the shop floor yourself. Last night, I had to tear myself away. My husband called to see if I was alright because I was taking so long.
After I had all my other baby items set up in the appropriate spots, I returned to see my diapers – twice. The second time, I went through them all lovingly and made sure they were displayed in the best way possible. I didn’t want to say goodbye.
I felt a little weepy over it all. And honestly, I was feeling foolish, too. Crying over diapers (almost)? Come on!
But these diapers had been a labor of love, as so much baby stuff is. I spent hours poring over websites, reading reviews, and waiting for sales, until I cultivated the cutest, fluffiest, most comfortable and convenient bunch of baby diapers I could find. All for my tiny little baby.
There was a minky tiger striped pocket diaper. Another that was made of denim with real pockets on the back! And one that was a deep, intense purple. They were so soft. There was bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, some cherished wool pieces, and a few fleece-lined diapers. I probably had more than I needed. (Here’s my diaper stash in the early days.)
I guess cloth diapers were an obsession for me.
But each diaper had a time when it played favorite and earned its price tag. Even prefolds and flats had their utilitarian role, amazing me with their resilience and lack of staining month after month.
As I left the sale setup area, I wished I had taken a photo of all my diapers together. Then I realized I barely had any photos of my son wearing them! Yikes! I had tucked away one newborn diaper from his tiniest days, but that’s it. The rest are likely gone forever now.
I was panicking on my way home. What if people take them out of their packages and the inserts get lost? Should I go check on them during the sale? Could I go back and grab them all up? Right now?
Should I have just kept my favorites as keepsakes? No. I had decided when I invested in cloth diapers that they were to be resold. Besides, then I’d have to keep them all. (I’m not a hoarder, really!)
I also realized this is just part of letting your baby grow up.
He’s mostly out of diapers now. In fact, I keep him in Blueberry Training Pants most of the time. But this event made me – insanely – wish he would still be in diapers. What mother wishes THAT?
Yeah, it was time to let go.
What about you? Doesn’t every mother have something of her baby’s she cherishes and holds dear forever?
P.S. I’ve heard our cute baby hats make great keepsakes, too!
When I pick up my older son from preschool, I always bring his little brother with me. Sometimes I let the little one check out the toys and books in the play area.
The other day, my toddler was carrying around a book and occasionally putting the corner to his mouth. I was only taking a moment to jot down a note for the teacher, so I knew he wouldn’t get far. But a concerned mom walked over to him, took the book from him, and said, “I don’t think you really want that in your mouth.”
I’m not really sure what she meant – was she genuinely concerned that my son was getting into something that might be dirty? Or was she worried he might pass his germs on to other kids there?
Either way, I hadn’t been that concerned. I just am not that worried about everyday germs. I’d go crazy trying to keep everything from my toddler’s mouth.
My older son knows to cover his mouth with his arm when he has to sneeze or cough. He automatically washes his hands after going to the bathroom. Those are the bare minimums for keeping your germs to yourself, and at four years old, he does pretty well.
I also cancel playdates if he’s sniffly or coughing, even if he is in good spirits with no sign of fever. But beyond this, we don’t go out of our way to do much to keep germs at bay.
I’ve also found it impossible to keep the brothers’ germs separated.
Little brother just wants to test out everything with his mouth, including big brother’s straw, snack leftovers, and even his baseball bat. And with two kids, there’s just no way I could keep everything out of his reach.
Worst of all, this has been big brother’s first year in preschool, so he has caught everything. Strangely enough, the little brother has rarely come down with even a stuffy nose.
We were pretty picky around the house when they were newborns, though.
We were especially protective when they were first born, as they were premature and the doctor warned us about the potential dangers of catching a cold with their immature immune systems. But when they’re that small, it’s so much easier to shield them from everything.
How about you? What lengths do you go to keep germs at bay around your kids?