Keeping tiny faces and heads warm during winter bike riding is a skill I have practiced over the past three (going on four) winters. Living in Philadelphia with our so glorious seasonal weather, we get to change up how we bike four times a year. Usually by the time I get the kids used to putting on winter gear, it is time to shed layers!
Winter prep for faces is important as hypothermia is a very real possibility with freezing temps and bad wind chill, especially because we ride along a river. My kids have normally delicate child skin, and they also develop mild eczema in the winter, which causes very dry red spots on their faces and hands particularly.
I pay extra attention to areas exposed – so hands get woolen mittens and faces/heads get a couple of layers.
First I prep their skin! I use Weleda’s Calendula Weather Protection Cream. The cream is similar to Vaseline (which I also highly recommend as a cheaper option) but with a soothing agent. I use this stuff right on the cheeks and lips for the kids (and honestly myself as chap stick). A little goes a long way with this cream.
Next I do an under the helmet layer. For my littlest, I use a balaclava since her helmet doesn’t have an earmuff option like my son’s Little Nutty. The balaclava is wool, which is a base layer key to all winter bicycling for us, but it is also lined in cotton so it isn’t itchy on her skin. My oldest has a thin cycling cap underneath his helmet.
Next come the helmets! My eldest’s Little Nutty is outfitted with winter ear pads (for Little Nutty Bike & Snow these pads ship in every box). These puppies kept him very toasty last year.
They also tend to muffle out excessive sound, so for highly sensitive kids these are great. I love how easily they can be removed too on the warmer winter days we tend to have once in a while. The younger’s helmet doesn’t have these so we just slide her helmet over the balaclava.
Finally, we completely zip up coats to cover up the necks of our kids. AND then, we are finally ready to set off for winter biking. #KeepRiding!
Dena Driscoll is a family biking advocate who lives with her two kids, two cats, and husband in Philly (all of whom have ridden in her cargo bike). When not riding orwriting about family biking she can be found working at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse.