One of the biggest worries for new parents is the safest temperature to take their baby outside in the summer. The concern is borne out of the fear that extreme heat or rising temperature is unsafe for the baby, which is true. Babies are easily affected by weather conditions and are likely to be at risk of overheating, which can be dangerous for their health. Overheating can cause intense discomfort, heat rashes, dizziness, exhaustion, restlessness and even lead to sudden infant death syndrome.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), no particular temperature is too hot for you to take your baby outside. However, they have also recommended that you should limit your baby’s exposure to the hot sun (babies below six months). If you must go outdoors, our helpful tips below will help your baby stay safe during the heat.
How your baby can stay safe outside in the summer
Limit exposure to sunlight as much as possible
Direct sunlight is dangerous for infants under six month. This is because babies have very delicate skin that can suffer from sunburn easily. Sunlight is notorious for its harmful ultraviolet light, which is capable of causing malignant melanoma. Stay in the shade. You can also use an umbrella or stroller canopy; they are better suited for shielding your baby from harmful UV light.
Wear Protective clothing
For babies above the age of six months, sunlight protective clothing is highly essential. Since we already know of the harmful effect of the sun’s UV rays, it is no-brainer to get a wide brim sun hat, a sock and a quality lightweight cotton cloth. Avoid synthetic materials that are likely to irritate your baby’s skin. Get loose-fitting clothes, instead of tight clothing that can cause your baby to overheat. Keep to fewer layers and excessive clothing. Today, there are UV-clothes that are suitable for babies, and they can be tried on, instead of sunscreen.
Hydration is important
Your baby needs to be hydrated during the summer. During hot weather, your baby may lose more fluid due to sweating, frequent urination and crying. The possibility of baby dehydration is high. To prevent this, you will need to monitor your baby’s wet diaper. Less urination and constant dry diapers are signs of dehydration. Increase breastfeeding during your baby’s first six months of age. Breast milk is made of all the vitalities your baby requires. It is capable of satisfying your baby’s hunger and thirst during the hot summer.
For much older babies, water should be given in addition to breast milk for the sake of hydration.
Cool and cosy pram is an essentiality
Your baby’s pram has to be cool enough to prevent sunburn during the hot summer. You can get strollers or prams with a sun shield, cover or canopy. This addition will protect your baby from the unpleasant sunlight, allowing them to remain cool. The sun shield or canopy has to be UV-protective and made of breathable, lightweight material, for proper ventilation. Never attempt to use a blanket as a shade for your baby’s stroller or pram because it might cause extreme heat for your child.
Baby safety in a car
Your baby’s comfort during a car ride should be your priority. Research has shown that as many as 38 children die yearly due to extreme car heat, otherwise known as ‘heat entrapment’. This occurs due to the extra-padded nature of car seats today. A baby who is overheating in a car will not be able to demonstrate anguish, unlike older children. So it is essential you prevent heat entrapment from ever occurring by parking in a garage or areas that are adequately shaded to avoid direct sunlight from heating your car. You can also turn the A/C on to pre-cool the car for a few minutes. Keep windows slightly open during a ride for proper ventilation. Tinted windows should also be considered to prevent UV light from penetrating your car.
Watch out for signs of overheating
Overheating is dangerous for your babies and frequently linked to ‘Sudden infant death’ syndrome. To prevent overheating, always be alert and seek medical attention for your baby if you notice that your baby’s skin has a reddish tone or your baby is throwing up. Other signs may include general weakness, fast heartbeat or Tachycardia amongst others.