Keeping Babies Cool in Hot Weather
When the temperature rises, we all want to make sure our little ones stay as cool and comfortable as possible. Babies are more sensitive to heat and can’t regulate their temperature in the same way adults do so there are some things we can do to help keep them cool on warmer summer days.
Keep them hydrated
Just like us adults, babies need to stay hydrated in warmer weather. If you’re breastfeeding your baby will need additional feeds (that includes at night too) in order to keep them hydrated. You do not need to give a baby under 6 months water if you’re breastfeeding but it’s important that you, the breastfeeding parent, stay well hydrated with water. If your baby is formula fed you can give them small amounts of cooled boiled water (up to 30ml per day) between feeds.
Dress them appropriately
Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and breathable fabrics like cotton. It’s a good idea to dress your baby in easily removable layers in case you’re moving between different temperatures (i.e. outside in warm weather, into a cool air-conditioned supermarket).
Protect them from the sun
Babies’ skin shouldn’t be exposed to the sun so it’s important to keep them in the shade where possible. Get a hat to keep their head and face out of the sun – one with a Velcro tie at the bottom if they enjoy taking it off! Also getting a sun parasol for your buggy will help keep them shaded (please don’t throw blankets or muslins over your buggy as this can increase the temperature inside). Dressing them in lightweight sun-protective clothing is a good alternative to sunscreen, which isn’t advised on babies under 6 months. If you do need to apply sunscreen to your baby under 6 months please speak to a pharmacist to get advice on the best one.
Cool your home
There are a few things you can do to keep your home a bit cooler on the warmest days. Keeping curtains and blinds shut all day will stop the sun from heating up your home. Only open windows at the coolest points during the day – morning and evening. Try to create cross-ventilation at these times by opening several windows at once. If you have a loft hatch opening, it will direct all the warmer air into the loft which can help keep the rest of your home cooler. Electronics generate heat so unplugging anything you don’t need could also help.
Cooling bath times
Bath time is a great opportunity to cool your little one down. A lukewarm bath can help bring your little one’s temperature down and provide a bit of relief from the heat. Remember, bath time doesn’t just have to be at bedtime! Remember never to leave a baby or young child unattended in the bath for any length of time
Use a fan
A fan is a great way to help air circulate around the room at night and cool you and your baby down. Remember not to point it directly at your baby though as they will get cold. An oscillating fan is best.
Look for signs of overheating
Look out for excessive sweating, flushed skin, rapid breathing, fussiness, or lethargy. If you notice any of these signs, bring your baby to a cooler environment, offer fluids, and if things don’t improve get advice from a medical professional.
Your baby may wake more during the night, which could be a sign that they are not at a comfortable temperature. If the back of their neck (or their tummy) feels nicely warm then they are fine, if their skin feels damp they may be too hot and you may need to remove a layer. Do not worry if their arms, hands or feet feel cool as this is quite normal and helps them to maintain a regular temperature. It is better for your baby to be cool rather than hot, and if they are too cold they’ll soon let you know.
Daisy First Aid offers fun and fear-free first aid classes for babies and children for parents and expectant parents. To find out more visit www.daisyfirstaid.com and click on ‘find a class’ to get in touch with your local trainer.
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