Keeping kids warm during winter sport
"Mum I'm freezing". Those heart wrenching words uttered through tear stained eyes on the edge of the pitch when they are playing football or rugby and desperately trying to stay warm when the snow is pelting down and all you can do is look on.
It's a problem. It's too late to do anything now the game is underway and your little one hasn't touched the ball for the last 10 minutes. You can't really send them out on the pitch with coats and mittens so what can you do?
Well here at Baselayer we have years of experience in dealing with this exact problem and we'd like to think we have some answers and some guidance that at the very least, will alleviate the problem and help your kids enjoy their sport more during the winter months, after all it's supposed to be fun.
Firstly let's cover some detail. To get warm, you need internal assistance from blood. Consider the body like your house heating system. The torso with all its vital organs is the boiler and the hands, feet and head are the radiators with the blood the hot water being pumped around the house. You cannot generate heat to the radiators if the boiler isn't working.
The only way to generate heat from the "boiler" is to feed it with fuel. That means eating, drinking, talking or exercise all of which generate heat and accelerate blood flow to help distribute heat around the body.
But if the boiler is not insulated, then you will lose more heat from it than you generate meaning the "radiators" will never get warm. Insulate a working boiler and you get heat to the radiators.
The trick to successful warmth in sport for kids who quite often lack any real natural insulation, is layering but layering intelligently with lightweight multiple layers and the first layer needs to be thermal insulation for the boiler.....the Base Layer.
Next to the skin select a good thermal Baselayer that can withstand the rigours of the pitch. We would not recommend Merino Wool here in reality as Merino is less robust than synthetics for this kind of sport. Also Merino Wool holds moisture and therefore can become heavy and whilst it's still extremely thermally efficient, if they get too wet this may become uncomfortable but it will still work if that's all you have.
Don't just select a "cheap" option. Modern day thermal Baselayers are a mesmerising amalgamation of fabrics and fibres that do a specific job of moisture management, thermal insulation and heat dissipation. A good synthetic baselayer won't allow you to overheat but provides thermal regulation which many low cost options simply fail to do. A Lycra skin simply won't cut the mustard as they say. It's like anything you buy you pay for what you get.
This type of fabric has a high elastic content and is often referred to as "shiny" fabric but in fact it's not. Any shine comes about as a result of the Nylon content that is in the fibres that provide durability and strength. These types of baselayers are also fantastic for playing on Astro Turf as they stop slide burns........ouch!
These brands also do a wider colour range so getting a baselayer to match the playing top that the FA in particular will find acceptable, is usually not a problem. For Rugby, the RFU states that there is no colour restriction and leggings may also be worn for matches up to and including Under 18. Any officious referee who tells you otherwise......just send them to us and we'll help educate them.
Another excellent option comes from the lesser known Scandinavian brand ODLO. The Odlo Warm Originals is particularly soft next to the skin as are its even warmer brother the Odlo Extra Warm Originals. Both of these are synthetic but a slightly more relaxed fit than the Under Armour or SKINS options.
Go for the leggings and the top and from Mum's point of view......black or at least a dark colour! Once their playing shorts and long socks are on, you will barely see the leggings anyway so any child who may think its "sissy" shouldn't be too bothered once they realise they will just have black knees on show.
So now they have their "underwear" on what next? Well now we start to layer up. Next on goes the playing kit of Shirt, Shorts and Socks and where necessary and if you are able to do so, a second pair of socks can be worn under their playing socks as this will "really" help to keep their toes warm. Here we do recommend some Merino Wool socks such as the Mid-Weight Merino Blend Ski Socks are a great option as long as they can still get their game day socks on and their boots too. Last thing you need is a different complaint heading your way!
Then for the pre-game warm up a pair of track suit bottoms, a fleece/hoody and where appropriate a wind/rain jacket and bottoms both of which will reduce wind penetration during the warm up. If Dad has a big coat they can borrow if they are the "Sub" for way too long, then that's a great addition to the ensemble when it's really bad weather.
Then cap it all off with a hat such as A Beanie and gloves which should never be discounted. One rule applies....try to avoid cotton for any layer....Cotton kills in the cold so avoid it at all costs and that includes their pants.
Now the best advice of the lot so are you ready for this one as it's a biggie........get them completely dressed with all layers at least half an hour before leaving the house and ideally before breakfast too. We mean it....we're not kidding.
The reason is simple. They should eat (BTW Porridge is brilliant as it keeps feeding them for hours after they've finished the bowl) plus have a hot drink of tea perhaps both of which will produce heat internally plus they will absorb heat from around them much of which they will retain so when they arrive at the ground, they will be like toast......trust us!
Same goes for in the car. Keep them wrapped up even before they leave the house. There's an old rule that says "Start Warm, Stay Warm.........Start Cold Stay Cold" and with kids around the football or rugby pitch, this is so very true.
If they get too hot they can dispense with layers and leave them on the sidelines or with you.....it's what you're there for after all isn't it? Keep the gloves on for as long as possible and with football keep them on throughout the game. But the hat may get in the way certainly during a game of football but if they play rugby and wear a scrum hat, wearing the beanie underneath shouldn't be a problem. By the time kick off comes they will be steaming.....literally in many cases and above all they will be very happy bunnies.
Baselayer are genuine experts in what we do. We've been around a very long time and have a wealth of expertise and knowledge and we are here to help you as much as we can.
We have a section dedicated to Kids' Football Baselayers that will suit all field sports from Football to Hockey and everything in between.
If we can offer any help at any time, simply call us on (0)1689 603675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org