Weather proof your kids against anything the winter throws at them.
Kids love the winter - they love the snow and they love the ice and they aren't so bothered about the downsides that adults are. So as long as they are well wrapped up in a proper winter coat for protection against the cold weather, they can ignore anything apart from the full-time, full-on, serious job of being a kid and enjoying the snow and winter fun. Meanwhile you can enjoy your own winter sports or be safely tucked up indoors busy not worrying about how cold and wet they are (because they aren't worried in the slightest!).
Waterproof over pants - for rain or especially when playing in snow Kids'
Features to look for in a winter coat
The outside layer has to put up directly with what the weather throws at it. So it needs to be windproof and maybe waterproof too.
The outer layer for kids especially, should have a hood to stop wind, rain and snow getting down the collar and also as it can't be lost in the way that a hat can!
Elasticated or fastening cuffs and draw cords help to prevent warm air being lost while keeping snow, rain and wind out.
Features to look for in a 3 in 1 Jacket
A 3-in-1 Jacket is a great solution for kids outer winter wear. There are two parts, a windproof and often waterproof outer, and an add-in liner jacket of fleece or synthetic insulation. Either layer can be worn alone or they can be worn together for two-layer comfort and performance. If the cold goes on for some time, keep the inner jacket fastened inside the outer so they can both be thrown on together - time is always a pressing issue for kids!
Two layers instead of one traps extra air in between the layers giving a coat that is warmer than you might imagine.
Synthetic insulation better where cold and wet may be encountered, less affected by wet than down, though a little heavier for an equivalent insulation level, doesn't compress so well and costs less. More easily washable than down.
Down - 500 / 600 / 700 / 800 "Fill Power". A measure of the quality and insulating property of down, the higher the number, the better - generally. Take an ounce of down, then compress it and let go - the down expands filling a volume, in cubic inches that volume is is the down's "fill power". A high fill power means lighter weight for the same warmth and more compressibility for packing.
Down is the gold standard insulation material for the most extreme conditions being used in the Far North and Far South alike during the winter months.
Design - sufficient high quality insulation is just one part of making a good winter jacket, the design is also very important too, to make the most of the insulation, to ensure there are no cold spots and to provide means of adjusting the warmth as conditions change. Draw cords, adjustable cuffs and vents help If it warms up or if the weather turns really nasty. A storm flap that folds and closes over the main opening zip avoids a thinly insulated region where heat can escape and helps keep wind, snow and rain out.
Bulk and weight - It may be stating the obvious, but a coat that is going to keep you warm at minus a lot and in a blizzard is going to be substantial. Even if filled with the best and lightest insulation it is going to be heavier than a jacket for the fall. Despite what some manufacturers may claim, there is no miracle super light and thin, super effective insulation material.
There are child-versions of adult more formal coats, often made of wool and with a tailored shape. They might be great for special events or car to door wear, but they really aren't very effective at keeping the winter out in more challenging conditions as they aren't usually very wind or waterproof. They often have button fronts, loose sleeves and no draw-cords or elastic anywhere to prevent warm air from being pumped out when you move around.
Wool is an awful material for an effective winter coat. It soaks up water, is not particularly windproof unless quite thick which makes it stiff and more likely to gape at the neck and cuffs allowing warm air to escape and is heavy and not very warm for a given weight. Wool is fine for "looking at" coats for best, but absolutely not as effective as a well designed modern insulated jacket, especially for kids who want to run around and have fun. They are the clothing equivalent of an elegant looking car that uses 50+ year old technology.
On the other hand, wool is a very effective material as an insulation or base layer under a protective outer shell.
Children's Insulated Winter
Jackets - Parkas
more kids winter jackets
Columbia Lightning Lift Jacket - Boys'
Synthetic insulation, water & windproof outer. Toddler to teen.
Silda Reimatec Winter Jacket - Girls
synthetic insulation, faux-fur trim
Kids 3 in 1 Jackets
more kids 3 in 1 winter jackets
Columbia Bugaboo II, 3 in 1 Jacket - Girls'
Waterproof, breathable shell + fleece liner, lots of color options