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Solved: 6 Ways to Keep Kids from Losing their Mittens this Winter

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.

Also read: Best Waterproof Mittens for Kids (Which Actually Stay On)


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.

mittens with idiot strings

Mittens with “idiot strings”


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.

Mitten clips are easy to make!


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.

The elbow-length kids mittens by WindRider have built-in wrist leashes.


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.

columbia snuggly bunny snow suit for babies and toddlers

The Columbia Snuggly snow suit has fold over cuffs. See my picks for best toddler snow suits here.


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.


Image credits:

Mitten clips from a pair of braces” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by scary_mary,
Michael’s idiot mittens, 3-09” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by JoanCharlotte


About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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