The safety of newborn babies, especially during the extremely sweltering summer heat is a common source of worry for moms. Babies have delicate skin and are more prone to sunburns from ultraviolet rays. Extreme heat is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome, a terminal sleeping condition in babies. Some parents make the mistake of overdressing their babies, which is solely responsible for prickly heat rashes.
Read below professional tips to ensure the safety of your baby as you venture outside during the summer:
A Guide to taking your Baby out in the summer
Stay away from direct sunlight exposure
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is very unsafe to expose your baby ( especially ages six months and below) to direct sunlight. This is because your baby’s skin is highly sensitive and fragile; direct sunlight can damage it easily. Your baby’s skin is prone to ultraviolet light damage. Research-backed findings have shown the link between melanoma and early exposure to sunlight. If you happen to be outdoors with your baby in extreme sunlight conditions, protect your baby by staying in a shaded area.
If you are driving with your baby, it is advisable to use a shade visor. The car should also be parked in a shaded area. Sunshade should be used in the rear window to provide shade for the baby’s back seat.
Baby hats are important
Wearing your baby a wide-brimmed hat will protect your baby’s face and neck from the sunlight. It is advisable to get a sun hat made with natural fabrics.
Baby hats made with synthetic materials like fur are capable of trapping moisture and heat, and they should be avoided
Do not use sunscreen
Sunscreen should not be used on newly born babies and babies below the age of six months. Your baby’s skin is fragile and porous. Chemicals from sunscreen can irritate or cause rashes on her skin.
For babies above six months of age, it is safe to use sunscreen. Ensure the sunscreen does not contain toxic or harsh chemicals like oxybenzone and ecamsule. Stick to mineral-based sunscreen (made with zinc oxide); they are not easily absorbed into the skin.
UV protected apparel
UV protected baby clothing is specifically designed to offer your baby protection from sunlight. Ordinary clothing can shield your baby from sunlight, but will not effectively block ultraviolet rays from your baby’s skin. Choose UV apparel with a rating of UPF 50 and above, for excellent protection.
Increased fluid intake
Babies have a much higher metabolic rate than adults and are at risk of dehydration, especially during the hot weather. A great way to prevent dehydration in your baby is through increased fluid intake. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you won’t need additional water supplementation because breast milk contains all the essential nutrients your baby will need, including water.
For formula-fed babies, occasional intake of a small amount of water may be necessary during hot weather.
Get a stroller or buggy with a canopy/shade
Strollers with coverings (like canopy or shades) are designed to protect your baby from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Avoid draping a blanket over your baby’s stroller. This can have life-threatening consequences for your baby. Blankets are not breathable and can retain heat inside the stroller, potentially causing heat exhaustion.
Watch out for overheating or heat exhaustion
Babies are prone to overheating and heat loss because of their delicate skin, making their temperature hard to regulate. In hot weather conditions, the possibility of babies having a heat stroke is high, so pay attention to your baby’s clothes and ensure he is adequately breastfed or bottle-fed timely and regularly.
Seek urgent medical attention if you notice:
- Your baby has a high temperature.
- Your baby’s skin is dried and reddened
- Your baby is weak or dizzy.
- Your baby vomits frequently.
- Your baby’s heartbeat is fast.
- Your baby is neither sweating nor conscious.