'Children do not catch a cold from being outside in the winter... it's a myth so please let your kids play out', begs a scientist (and here's how to make them keep their coat on)

In fact, research shows you're more safe from colds when you're outside than when you're inside!

Child playing in the snow
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A scientist has taken to Instagram to beg parents to let their children play outside in the cold this winter as he shares that 'it's a myth' that the cold weather causes colds - though you do want to make sure they're wrapped up warm in their coats.

While we haven't yet had a decent snowfall in the UK, leaving many wondering if it will it snow in the UK in 2024, the days and nights have clearly grown colder throughout the winter months. 

Every time the temperature drops, children seem to come home with sniffling noses and flu-like coughs that can be treated with natural remedies like our natural cold remedies suitable for all the family, our natural at home flu remedies, or our natural cough remedies that include some surprising foods

The increasing level of illness that accompanies the colder months has left many parents to believe that the cold weather has given their kids a cold. It's in the name, isn't it? A cold?  

But one scientist has now taken to Instagram to dispel this 'myth' and urge parents to get their kids out into the cold where, he says, they're actually less likely to catch any cold-like illnesses.  

"Children do not 'catch a cold' by playing outside during the Winter," Adrian Preuss, a Nutrition Scientist told his followers. "Research confirms that the opposite is true, and children who spend tie outside get less sick, backed by evidence.  So please allow your kids to play outside to boost their immune defence."

As Preuss says, there is loads of evidence showing that the cold not only doesn't cause colds, but may actually help protect against them. 

Child Care Health Consultant Anne Dodds is just one of many experts praising the benefits of winter play alongside Preuss. She wrote in the Pennsylvania Department Of Health's newsletter, "Winter fresh air is good for everyone! Outdoor winter play has long been blamed for colds and the flu. Our parents told us to 'bundle up or you’ll catch a cold,' and their parents probably told them the same thing. 

"Although going outside unprepared for the elements is unwise, viruses that are spread by other human beings and cause colds and the flu are indoors. The indoor circulation of germs and bacteria is much more harmful to your child than playing outside."

So how do we make sure kids stay warm and wrapped up in their coats when we send them outdoors to play? Any parent, no matter what stage of development a child has reached, will understand the struggle of getting them to wear a coat when it's cold outside. It seems so illogical that they wouldn't want to stay warm but child psychologist Amanda Gummer says there is a pretty understandable reason behind their choice. 

"Children have a different body temperature to adults and also tend to be more active, so whilst we may think it’s cold, your child may not be feeling it," she told the Huffington Post.

To get them into their coats, Gummer says it's important to let them learn from the consequences of not wearing one, even though it does seem a big harsh.  

“It’s much better to get them to learn to take responsibility for themselves, learn to listen to their bodies from an early age and not have this as a source of stress and conflict in the family," she says. “Pick your battles and let them learn from experience. The first time, (and every time for very young children), take the coat with them for when they inevitably do get cold.

“For older children, especially if you’re only going out somewhere for a little while, suggest they take it and carry it themselves if they don’t want to wear it, but if they don’t, feel free to just let them learn from their own mistakes, assuming you’re not going out into Arctic storms!”

Keep up to date with all our family news like If you do this one thing, your kids will listen more and pushback less, claims parenting coach, and Matt Edmondson shares how his baby-naming hack almost backfired (and it’s a lesson we can all learn from), as well as Teen not taking your ‘unsolicited’ advice? Here’s how to make yourself heard (without being given the side eye).

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.