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How do you tell total strangers that their baby is cold without appropriate covering, while they have nice warm coats...

Updated on March 10, 2008

I think to question someone else's parenting by making a personal judgement about their children raises red flags. First, how can you really know if their baby is cold? Obviously, red cheeks, nose running, shivering and crying are signs to me when a child has been out in the cold. But then, a feverish baby can also have the same symptoms. If the babies hands or cheeks are cold, it would be a natural assumption that the infant is cold. But having raised two boys, I might say, did the child just finish eating something cold like fruit, is the child teething and their fingers are in the mouth and now cold in the air, or simply drinking cold water and got in on themselves. Or possibly the child may simply have cold hands. My boys seemed to stay wet,cold, dirty and possibly germy half of their childhood. Of course crawling and playing on playgrounds, touching a million things, fingers in and out of mouths, well this leads to kids getting cold, wet, sick etc. So I guess my main questions are then, will this matter tomorrow if you say nothing? Is this a life threatening issue with the child? What gives you the right to offer your opinion to these people? And finally what makes you think these people want your opinion or will take your advice anyway? In the end, they will either thank you for noticing their baby is cold and a.) cover the baby, now feeling poorly about their parenting and you included for pointing this out; or b.) not cover the baby, now feeling poorly about you judging them about their parenting and you as well for pointing this out. I would try not to interfere, and I say try, because it usually the caring, well meaning folks like I'm assuming you are by your question, that offer advice to total strangers regarding one of their own. In the end, it's still their decision.


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    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 9 years ago from London

      This is a good hub.  I know that I would feel that way if somebody commented on what my child was or was not wearing!  As her parent I know what her normal body temperature is.  I know that she takes after her dad and hardly ever feels the cold, and so hates wearing big coats and thick jumpers when her friends are all bundled up.  A stranger wouldn't know this information, and so wouldn't really be qualified to comment! 

      Unless a child looked visibly cold and unwell I wouldn't dream of commenting on this.  I appreciate though that it's sometimes quite difficult to tell!

    • coffeeconnoisseur profile image

      coffeeconnoisseur 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Indeed, you are correct that it may be none of my business, which is why I said nothing but 'stewed' about this crying baby with short sleeves and nothing on his legs as the young man walked a baby, less than 4 months old, in a stroller past me while I worked in my yard.

      Dad had a nice warm coat on. I had a long sleeved shirt with a fleece jacket over that as I worked. It wasn't warm outside, it was chilly.

      I realized that it was none of my business, but as a nurse, a trained advocate for people in critical situations, I worried that I would hear about this child in the news being admitted to a hospital with hypothermia or worse.

      An infant is not able to succinctly communicate its discomfort... on the other hand, he may have been trying through his crying.

      I agree that there are a great many factors missing from my brief encounter with this baby, but I also have raised two children of my own and have a wonderful grandson. I am a nurse who sees and hears of unbelievable ignorance and the news of abused and neglected children is far too frequent, in my books.

      Whether any of my business or not, the next time I see this Dad out with his child inappropriately dressed, I will say something.

      Thanks for your take on the subject.