Buying mittens for my daughter each season used to be painful. It’s not just because good mittens are expensive and she will probably just get one season out of them. It was also because she’d lose at least one pair of those expensive mittens each season!
Or at least she used to lose them. Now I’m pretty diligent about lose-proofing her mittens. There are six ways to do this.
1. Mittens On a String
Pretty much all of the gloves and mittens from my childhood had a string attaching them. Apparently they are called idiot strings. 🙂 You run the string through the jacket sleeves so you can’t lose the mittens.
This is what I do for my kids. It takes just a few minutes to sew a string to their mittens.
But a lot of daycares and schools don’t allow mittens with strings because of strangulation risk.
When I first heard about this rule (my kid’s daycare allows mitten strings), I couldn’t believe it. Apparently some daycares don’t even allow scarves. Is this how far we’ve come in regards to safety? Are shoelaces going to be outlawed next?
I did some research and found one case of strangulation due to mitten strings. I’m not sure how a mitten string could strangle a kid: it goes around the back of the jacket so isn’t exposed or able to catch on anything. Even if your child threads the mitten string around their neck, it still doesn’t go around the neck….
Even if you are willing to take this risk, you should check with your daycare/school before adding idiot strings to your kid’s mittens.
2. Short Strings Sewn into Jacket Sleeves
Some daycares allow mitten strings so long as they aren’t longer than 6 inches. In this case, you can sew a short string to each mitten and sew the other end of the string into the jacket sleeve.
Or, if you want to be able to dry or wash the mittens separately from the jacket, sew a button inside the sleeve and connect the string to this.
It’s actually more comfortable for your kid this way since the string doesn’t go around their back.
3. Mitten Clips
Clips are a super cheap way to keep your kids from losing mittens. There are a bunch on Amazon for under $10. It’s also easy to make them yourself from suspender clips.
One issue is that mitten clips make it hard to cinch the jacket sleeve over the mittens. That’s fine for when you are just going around town. But, if your kid wants to play outside, the snow can get into the sleeves.
A solution? Clip the mittens to your child’s sweater and then put the jacket over the mitts.
4. Wrist Leashes
A wrist leash goes around your wrist and attaches to the mittens or gloves. Compared to mitten clips, leashes are more comfortable since there isn’t a cold metal clip which can contact the skin.
Leashes also make it easier to put the jacket over the mittens to keep snow out. You can also use leashes with elbow-length mittens, something which isn’t always possible or comfortable with mitten clips.
The downside is that wrist leashes are usually made from stretchy elastic. It could come off your kids’ wrists (seriously, kids can find a way to lose anything!). And, for leashes to work, the mittens must have an attachment point.
5. Fold-Over Sleeve Cuffs
For toddlers and babies, I recommend getting a snow suit which has fold-over cuffs on the sleeves. Then you don’t have to worry about putting mittens on their hands at all for errands.
Do note that the cuffs usually don’t have any insulation in them. So, if your child is going to play in/touch snow, they should still wear mittens. In this case, fold the cuffs over the mittens. This helps keep the mittens on so they don’t lose them.
6. Tape Them On
As a last resort, just tape the mittens on. Seriously, check out this picture.
Use a strip of tape to connect the mittens to the sleeve, like a hinge, and your child won’t be able to lose them. Or, if you have a kid who refuses to wear mittens, go ahead and tape all the way around their mitts so they can’t pull them off.
And don’t worry about feeling stupid for sending your kids out with their mittens taped to their sleeves. Other parents will understand!
I’d avoid using duct tape though. Use hockey shin guard tape instead. It’s just as secure but is easier to remove without leaving any stick residue or damaging the fabric.