Baby it’s hot out there! Summer is almost here and so is our desire to get outside and enjoy it. But when the temperature rises, can baby handle the heat? The short answer is: She can if you can – as long as you keep a few things in mind. Let’s go over some summer fun tips to keeping baby cool when the sun is high in the sky.
Sun’s Out, In Shade
Keep baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do take them under the sun, cover up their skin to avoid over exposure. Dress them in light-colored, breathable clothing.
If the pool, lake or ocean is on the agenda, for babies, it might be a good idea to search for a rash guard that will add an extra layer of protection. Speaking of added protection, throwing on a brimmed hat and sunglasses can go a long way in not only keeping baby cool but also protecting them from the sun while they’re out.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best sun protection for newborns and babies younger than six months is to stay in the shade. The AAP recommends keeping newborns and babies younger than 6 months out of of direct sunlight. For babies older than 6 months, typical sunscreen can be applied. Don’t forget baby’s ears and any exposed skin like fingers and toes. Depending on the activities, you’ll want to reapply based on the individual brand’s labeling recommendations. And don’t forget that it takes 30 minutes for applied sunscreen to be effective.
Tricks to Outdoor Cool-Downs
While the hottest part of the day is around 3 PM, the sun is typically the strongest between 10 AM and 3 PM. In a perfect world, we’d all be able to avoid being outside during that time frame, but this is the real world and getting outside with little ones during the summer months is so important for everyone’s health (and sanity!). So, what can you do?
Get in the Water
It’s a common myth that newborn babies shouldn’t get in the pool. They may actually really love it, as long as the pool’s water temperature is heated to 86 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (30 – 32 degrees Celsius). For babies older than 6 months, standard pool temperature is fine. Moms, though, may want to wait until around 6 weeks after birth before getting in a public pool to avoid infection. When at the pool, take advantage of frequent breaks in the shade and bring plenty of towels to wrap baby up when they’re out of the water. Limit water time to 10-minute increments so baby doesn’t get too cold, then build up from there. Give them a break after 30 minutes, max.
Keep it Breathable
Sitting in a stroller can get hot, fast. The key to keeping baby cool is keeping their environment breathable. When shopping for a stroller, look for an adequate canopy that covers baby and a removable back panel for better ventilation. If your current stroller doesn’t feature a removable back panel, then a cooling stroller liner might just do the trick. There are also stroller canopy extenders for those that don’t offer enough shade.
Something a lot of veteran parents swear by is a clip-on foam fan that attaches to the stroller tray, trained on baby. Stock a cooler with cold water bottles, along with a rag. Pour the cold water onto the rag – just enough to get it cool and damp – and wet their face, arms, and legs, then place the rag on the back of their neck. The air from the fan coupled with the cool water will create mobile air conditioning system in your baby’s stroller. Do not leave the baby unattended with the rag as it can be a choking hazard.
Be Prepared with a Hydration Station
Just like you need extra fluids in the heat, so does baby. Babies under 6 months can’t drink plain water, so instead, they need to feed more often. Whether breastfeeding or formula feeding, prepare for a significant food increase by packing more with you and paying close attention to baby’s cues.
For babies older than 6 months, modest water intake is okay. Babies starting solids can have even tastier hydrating treats like frozen fruits. Pop a couple frozen berries into the Dr. Brown’s Silicone Feeder, which features a 100% soft silicone pouch with dozens of tiny holes that let just enough food through for baby to safely self-feed, without the mess of a mesh feeder.
Signs of Overheating
Babies can overheat pretty quickly, so it’s important to know the signs before it gets to a dangerous point. Here are some early warning signs that baby is warming up:
- The back of their neck is hot or overly warm to the touch
- They don’t have as many wet diapers in a certain timeframe
- They have flushed, red cheeks
- Baby is fussy or restless, not from hunger or wet diapers
- Atypical lethargy or tiredness
If you notice any of these signs, get baby cooled down and hydrated as quickly and safely as possible and contact your pediatrician or seek medical advise immediately. These signs can indicate dehydration or early indicators of more serious heat-related issues.
The truth is, during summer, sometimes you just can’t beat the heat when you’re outside. With baby on board, you’ll want to take extra precautions when spending time under the sun – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the warm weather while it’s here. So, get out and have some safe fun!