As the summer temperatures rise the question on most parents' lips is,
How do I keep my baby/toddler cool on hot sunny days?
Rising temperatures during hot summer days & nights can leave your baby feeling cracky, irritable, uncomfortable & sometimes dehydrated. That's because unlike adults, it's harder from them to regulate their own body temperature.
Here’s our top tips to help them stay safe and cool this summer.
Stay hydrated and increase fluids
For Babies under 6 months ~ If you're still breastfeeding, babies under 6 months of age may want to feed more frequently but for shorter periods. Remember that breastfeeding mums also need to increase their fluids during this time so as to not become dehydrated themself as this can affect milk supply. Non breast fed babies can be offered some cooled boiled water between feeds.
For babies over 6 months old who may have started to be weaned ~ you may like to consider making expressed breast milk ice cubes or pureed fruit ice cubes such as watermelon or strawberries. These can be stored in the freezer and put into a silicon feeding dummy as required.
Toddlers (Over 1 year) can be encouraged and offered extra drinking water throughout the day or during meal times. Alternatively offering water rich fruit such as watermelon, peaches & strawberries or a frozen fruit or yoghurt ice block can increase fluid intake.
When out and about or simply in your own garden seek a shady spot for the pushchair or bassinet. Do not cover the pushchair with a blanket or muslin cloth. Although this may seem like a great idea thinking this helps keep the sun off your baby/toddler it also traps heat behind it and stops the air flow. This can cause your baby / toddler to quickly overheat and become dehydrated. If you're heading out for a walk try and limit these when the sun is at its coolest. If you’re out with friends, having a BBQ or visiting the beach or park, find a tree or shady place to sit and park the pram.
Choose light weight, breathable clothing such as cotton or linen, that covers their arms and legs, plus a wide brimmed hat to protect your baby/toddlers head and shoulders. It's ok to remove a layer of clothing if you’re concerned that your baby/toddler is getting too warm. Remember sheek shade and stay out of direct sunlight. Removing a hat will also help to quickly cool a baby/toddler who is overheating.
Sunscreen is not recommended for use on babies under 6 months of age as it may cause skin irritations and sensitivity. Your best line of protection is clothing and shade seeking. For babies over 6 months of age the cancer society recommends the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, with a SPF factor of 30 or more.
Playing outdoors ~ remember to find a shady stop to play where possible. A shallow tub or paddling pool in the shade, (adult supervised of course) is a great way to cool your baby or toddler. Don’t be tempted to spray them with the hose pipe that's been in the sun all day. Water sitting in the pipe will be burning hot & will scald your child.
Playing indoors ~ Find a cool, airy space out of the direct sun. You can place baby & toys on a special gel filled cooling mat. If you cover the mat with a muslin cloth or cotton sheet this will help reduce sweating while baby/toddler sits playing on the mat.
Naps & Bedtime
Try to keep the bedroom cool before naps & bedtime begins. Have good air circulating from an air conditioning unit, fan or open window. Keep blinds down or curtains drawn during the day as this keeps the sun out of room, reducing room temperatures.
A lukewarm bath before bed will help to cool overall body temperature and although it's recommended to have an extra layer of clothes on babies at night, during the warm summer months it's ok to leave off a vest & just wear a long sleeved baby grow or pair of pyjamas.
Signs of overheating & dehydration.
- Skin looks flushed or red
- Body feels hot to touch often with damp hair
- Dry & sticky mouth
- Irritability or sleepy
- Rapid breathing and/or fast heart rate
- Heat rash
- Fewer wet nappies due to a reduced urine output
If you think your baby is suffering from overheating, seek help by calling the healthline on 0800 611 116. If your baby becomes floppy or unresponsive, call 111 immediately.