Warm Kids Are Happy Kids

Written By: A Anderson-Boss

Choosing a winter coat for a child does not need to be a daunting task. While it is advisable to utilize available sources before purchasing a coat, there is no reason to go nuts about it! It is entirely possible to purchase an affordable coat that is warm, versatile, and reasonably stain-resistant. The look and feel of a new coat should be considered. It can be difficult when shopping to find a coat that is attractive to a child but also warm and comfortable.

Why down?

Winter coats for children are made with materials ranging from leather to feathers and everything in between. Then there are different styles – over a dozen – to choose from. Pockets and hoods and iPod connectors are handy, but what about the inside of the coat? The stuffing (fill) in a coat is what keeps a child warm. For this very reason, a down coat is often a popular pick among children and families.

Down coats are comfortable. They are warm. The outer shell used is easily cleaned. Several companies both online and in stores offer down coats in bright colors children enjoy. 

Made from the feathers of water birds, down is the inner feathers found under the exterior feathers of a bird – the soft, fluffy stuff often depicted in cartoons. This down is what keeps birds warm against the cold winter waters. When used as a fill for winter coats, down provides an excellent barrier against frigid temperatures.

Down time!

Down used for a thermal insulator is a simple choice: not only does down pack tightly into small places, it traps air in its layers. This allows for the material to breathe. Breathable material is a necessity in the cold, where body temperatures differ greatly from air temperatures. Down is used in items such as below-zero sleeping bags for that very reason. Down is practically an unbeatable choice for a child’s jacket that will keep warm against the cold.

Filled with feathers, the pillow-like and comfortable feel of a down jacket is sure to please children. Down coats are cozy. Remember, this is what nature created for birds as an effective barrier against cold! Down is the all-natural remedy against freezing temperatures, take advantage of it!

Down fall?

The only con of purchasing a down coat is that, once wet, the coat takes some time to dry. It is important to note that when wet, the insulating quality of the down is lost. The coat must be dry to work effectively. It is imperative to follow the care tag instructions when washing.

Down to you!

As always, child safety awareness is a factor. Child seat straps should be adjusted each and every time a new coat is purchased. While many down coats are “squishable” and no adjustments are necessary, it is highly advisable to double-check. The puffiness of a coat can require a carseat harness to be loosened or tightened as the coat is worn. Ensure car seat straps are properly tightened each time the child is in the car seat.

Allergic to down feathers or something else?

Written By: Maddie Liseblad

Down is that fluffy, insulating, feathery material that keeps the heat in and cold out. It’s often referred to as the ultimate luxury in both outerwear and bedding. But what if all of a sudden, pulling up that warm, cozy down comforter means health problems such as puffy, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose? Or nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing? Or severe sinus pressure, an itchy mouth, nose and throat, or something as scary as trouble breathing? Then maybe an allergy is to blame.

Allergy symptoms

Some people who develop allergy symptoms believe they are allergic to the down feathers in their pillows or comforters. They remove these bedding items and the symptoms go away. That causes people to believe their allergy is to down feathers. However, most of the times, a suspected down feather allergy is not a feather allergy at all. Instead, it’s an allergy to dust and dust mites. A dust mite and dust allergy is a fairly common allergy, but a pure feather allergy is not.

Old wives’ tale

According to The Down Association of Canada, concern about allergies to down is a bit of an old wives’ tale. They say that true allergies to down and down feathers are rare and that down products today are put through rigorous cleaning processes and special treatments that eliminate dust and dust mites. They also state that using materials other than down may not be a better choice. They claim, for example, that pillows made out of polyester support dust mites to a larger extent than down pillows do. The Down Association of Canada also said that a study in the British Medical Journal indicated that people with asthma did better with down bedding than with polyester bedding.

Down is a good choice

The American Down and Feather Council agrees with The Down Association of Canada. They say that hypoallergenic down and feather pillow and comforters are actually a good choice for dust and dust mite allergy sufferers. One of the reasons that down is a good choice for allergy sufferers, they say, is because it is sterilized and super cleaned before it is manufactured into a pillow, comforter, or jacket. Furthermore, according to the ADFC, down and feather bedding naturally has qualities that inhibit the production of irritating dust mites.

Dust mites

So, what’s a dust mite? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, dust mites are tough beings that live and multiply in humid and warm places. They prefer when it’s over 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 75-80 percent. Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye. People who are allergic to dust mites actually react to the proteins that dust mites have on their bodies and in their feces. These particles can be found pretty much everywhere, but most of the time they are found in pillows, blankets, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and carpets. They essentially float in the air whenever someone disturbs bedding, vacuums, or walks on a carpet, but they settle down after the disturbance is over.

The ACAAI says there may be as many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust. However, the normal range is between 100 to 500 mites in each gram. Each dust mite produces about 10-20 waste units per day, and they live for about 30 days. According to webmd.com, dust mites eat dead skin from pets and humans. Dust mites do not bite, they don’t spread disease and usually do not live on humans, but they are harmful to those with allergies. Dust mite allergies tend to peak in July and August, when the temperatures are nice and warm.

The best way to avoid dust mites and dust is to keep the house, bedding, and outerwear clean. To get tips on how to control dust mites, click here.

Get tested

The best way to know if an allergy is because of dust, dust mites or feathers is to be tested by a doctor. Doctors can perform comprehensive testing that includes a plethora of subjects and materials, giving the patient exact answers as to what they are truly allergic to.

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