Summertime brings sunshine and warm weather to your life; it’s the perfect time to go out adventuring with your baby and discover new sights under the sun. But keeping your baby cool and safe during the heat can be challenging, especially when you’re exploring the tropics or sunbathing at the beach. Worry not, we’ve prepared some tips for you and your little explorer for the hottest of hot days.
In this article, we cover:
● How the summer heat can affect your baby
● How babies can maintain their body temperature
● Signs to look out for if your baby is too hot
● Eight ways to prevent overheating and keep your baby cool throughout summer
Healthy babies, who are hydrated and well, tend to be able to regulate their body temperature unless they become overheated. However, there are some essential things to know and tips to help you understand the facts about overheating and how to keep them cool.
Understanding the heat's effect on your baby
When the weather soars, it’s especially hard for babies and children to maintain a comfortable body temperature because theirs rises faster than an adult's, so they are at more risk of overheating and being impacted and affected by a heat-related illness. Babies are prone to developing heat rash or prickly heat because their sweat glands are not fully developed, and they cannot sweat; this reduces their ability to cool down and can result in suffering from heat stroke much quicker than an older child or adult.
How to prevent your child from overheating
On the hotter days, aim to keep your baby cool by staying inside during the hottest part of the day between approximately 11.00 am and 3.00 pm. However, sometimes this cannot be avoided, so shading them with a sun parasol that has UPF 50+ fabrics and lets you shade your baby any way you like, is vital. You mustn't cover their car seat or stroller with a blanket because it actually acts as insulation and can further build the temperature inside the stroller. We've got lots of stroller accessories to ensure your tiny human stays summer cool when you are out and about.
Signs to look out for if your baby is too hot
By placing your hand on your baby's back or chest, you should be able to feel their temperature more accurately; it will guide you better than feeling their hands or feet. Usually, babies who are overheated become unsettled and uncomfortable. If their temperature remains high, they could become dehydrated, which looks like:
● Being more tired than usual
● Being extremely thirsty
● Breathing more quickly than usual
● Fewer tears when crying
● Fewer wet nappies
● Being irritable
● Having drier skin and looking pale
If you and your tiny human are experiencing any of this, remove their clothing, give them a nice bath and see if they'd like a drink or something to eat.
How to keep your baby cool when they're sleeping
Whether your baby is taking a nap in the stroller, away on vacation with the family, or at home during a hotter time, heat can disrupt their sleep and comfort. According to the American Academy of Paediatricians, the ideal temperature for a baby's room is between 20 to 23°C (or 68 to 72°F). Keeping a baby's room cool is especially important when they sleep, as overheating can put an infant at risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
We’ve got some tried and tested tips for a better night's sleep, but these are especially important during the summer:
● Use a room thermometer to monitor the temperature of your baby's room
● Get a seat liner to help absorb sweats during strolls
● Keep the blinds and curtains shut during the day will help to keep the room cool
● A cool bath before bed can help settle your tiny human
Our top tips to keep your baby cool in the summer
1. Keep your baby well hydrated
Like adults, your baby needs to stay hydrated in the hot weather. If you're breastfeeding, there's no need to give them additional water, but you may want to feed more than usual for shorter periods of time. Of course, if your baby is thirsty and/or your milk production is low, give them cooled boiled water. Also, be aware of keeping your own fluid levels up to increase your hydration and milk production. On the other hand, if you're bottle-feeding, you’ll want to give your baby water throughout the day.
When your baby is 6 months or older, you want to ensure regular water drinking. Give them very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes, and homemade fruit ice lollies.
2. Give your baby a bath
Scientists found that a bath before bed helps to lower the body's core temperature, which plays a role in having a better night's sleep for babies and adults alike. This is especially great before bedtime - for the whole family!
3. Pick the right clothes for your baby
Just like you would on a hot day, dress your baby in lightweight clothing and use layers to adjust their temperature. Go for fabrics like cotton or even merino which help regulate body temperature, wick moisture and feel soft to wear.
4. Keep alert for heat exhaustion
Monitor your tiny human's mood and body temperature when outside. As we've explored already, look for signs that they're overheating and be sure to seek medical advice and support if the severity increases to symptoms like vomiting, dry skin and fever.
5. Use a cold compress
A wet, cold flannel or an ice compress wrapped in muslin cloth can reduce heat and will help cool your baby down in the hot weather. You can definitely use one, too!
6. Ventilate their nursery
As well as keeping blinds and curtains closed throughout the day, it's also essential to keep the window slightly open to allow the breeze to flow through and circulate the air. It might also be a good idea to turn on a fan in their room about half an hour before bedtime. Meanwhile, on hotter days when there’s no breeze and the fan moves hot air around, you can hang wet towels on the radiators or doors to help cool the air around your baby.
7. Use baby sunscreen
A baby skin is generally very sensitive, and before 6 months, it is very thin and delicate, so it is wiser to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. The AAP says it is OK to apply minimal sunscreen to a baby's exposed skin. Of course, there are times when this isn't going to happen, especially if you have a dip in the paddling pool, so be sure they wear a good SPF that's gentle and contains fewer additives than regular sunscreens. You can use sunscreen more often for kids over 6 months. The rule of thumb is to reapply every couple of hours – but if your child is sweating or gets wet, reapply more often.
8. Kit out your stroller with summer-ready accessories
Seeking out shade is a must for hot summer days, and when you head to the park with your co-pilot, be armed with accessories to ensure a relaxed and comfortable stroll from the outset. Make sure your stroller has a large sun canopy that you can pull down and open up like the Bugaboo breezy sun canopy. You can also attach a fan to their stroller, which can be super handy when you're out and about, or clip on a parasol to the frame that can shade parts the sun canopy might not reach. Plus, stock your bag with cold and hydrating delights for the journey and beyond.
All in all, your and your baby's usual routine might be a little different during hotter times. Most importantly, remain aware and set yourselves up to enjoy the summer months armed with this knowledge and a bucket of ice!
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