One of the greatest risks to your child in the summer months are the very hot days the season can bring. A baby can experience heat exhaustion very quickly because they have limited capacity to deal with the heat. Here are some simple tips to keep your baby comfortable during the summer season.
1. Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day
Rearrange your schedule so your child only goes outdoors before 10 am and after 5pm during the summer months. If you are forced to take your baby out during the hottest part of the day, make sure you use as many of the below precautions as possible.
2. Avoid direct sunlight
Babies don’t have much melanin in their skin, so cannot protect themselves very well from the sun’s harmful rays. You should avoid placing a baby below the age of 6 months in direct sunlight.
3. Choose the right attire
Some synthetic materials can trap heat, worsening the effects of a hot day. Choose clothing made from heat-releasing materials like cotton. Some synthetic materials can also create heat rashes.
Choose clothing that guards your baby’s skin from the sun. Use loose-fitting hats, long sleeve shirts and pants to keep the sun from directly hitting their skin. Loose-fitting cotton clothing works best for hot days.
Many prams are lined with synthetic materials, so it might be a good idea to cover the inside of your baby’s pram with a cotton sheet.
4. Maintain hydration
For babies who are still breastfeeding regularly throughout the day, you probably won’t have to give them additional fluids. However, you might consider increasing the frequency of feeding times throughout the day. If your baby is on formula, consider also using some cool sterile water on especially hot days. Make sure all fluids are kept in high-quality food-grade (BPA-free) plastics.
5. Use the right nappies
Choose cotton cloth nappies on hotter days because they will help prevent nappy rash and heat rashes. Plastic nappies have synthetic components that trap heat and worsen nappy rash on hot days.
6. Be careful with creams and powders
On very hot days, some topical treatments can worsen the heat for your baby. Massage oils or creams might cause a heat rash or irritation for your baby’s skin. Talcum powder may also be an irritant for some babies on very hot days — use with caution.
7. Enjoy a few extra baths!
Summers are a great time to sit in a shaded part of the back yard and let your baby splash around in a small pool. Just be careful with the temperature of the water, preferably have the kiddies pool in the shade and never let them sit in it unsupervised.
A bath before you put your baby to bed can also make them more comfortable. Just make sure they are well dried before they are put to bed. Here's a useful guide to giving your baby his/her first bath
8. Avoid extreme temperature changes
While the heat is a problem, moving your child between hot and cold environments can also be an issue. If your baby is slightly sweaty from the heat, avoid placing them directly in front of a cold air conditioning unit as they can catch a chill very quickly. Don’t take them directly from a bath into cold environments because any water on their skin or hair can make them cold very quickly.
9. Apply sunscreen
Be aware that reflected light can carry harmful ultraviolet rays. Even if you keep your baby in the shade, reflected light from water and foliage can do damage. The American Academy of Paediatrics suggests that it is safe to use a small amount of sunscreen on a baby below 6 months. However, limiting time outdoors is usually a better strategy.
10. Keep the bug away!
Summer also means an increase in the number of insects flying around. Unless you have fly-screens, it is easy for mosquitoes, bees and other insects to fly into your home. Protect your baby from them with mosquito nets on their cot. You can also obtain mosquito net attachments for most prams to keep them safe while outside.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your baby healthy, happy and giggling throughout the summer months!