Ideas and Tips for Keeping Your Baby Cool in the Summer

Summer is such a fun and carefree time of the year, whether you’re enjoying it at the beach or on your patio. However, if you’re a new mom, your main concern is probably the well-being of your baby. Babies are more sensitive to heat than children and adults as their bodies have a harder time cooling off. As we know, sweating is the main way for our body to cool down. Eccrine glands (simple sweat glands) form during the fourth month of the baby’s development, but they’re not as effective as the sweat glands in adults. Improper care of your little one during the scorching temperatures can lead to many health issues and can even be linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To make sure your little bundle of joy is safe and protected during summer, make sure to follow these simple but important tips.

How to Know If Your Baby Is Overheating?

The normal body temperature of your baby should be around 36.4⁰C. If it’s 38⁰C or higher, this means that your baby is overheating. Other signs that indicate overheating are red ears and sweaty neck, rapid heart rate, restlessness, vomiting, unresponsiveness, etc. Your baby can also develop a heat rash if the salty sweat irritates their skin. It mostly appears on their neck, chest, armpits or thighs in the form of small red dots and splotchy skin.

How to Protect Your Baby from the Sun?

picture of a woman walking with stroller in the park on the sun
source: Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

Both you and your baby shouldn’t go on daily walks between 11 AM and 5 PM in the summer. The sun rays are strongest around 3 PM, so you should never go out at this time. If you decide to take your little one on a daily walk, make sure to prepare them beforehand.

The first step is getting a quality pram sun shade for your baby’s pram. It should be lightweight and provide plenty of ventilation. Under no circumstance use an ordinary cloth as a substitute, as it comes with many risks. Researchers found that even a thin cloth-like muslin wrap, adds so much heat and reduces air circulation so that the pram resembles a furnace. A high-quality pram sun shade is made from strong materials that block most of the UVA and UVB rays and a large mesh-like surface that provides a lot of ventilation. It’s also thin, durable, easy to install and covers every inch of your baby’s stroller. This is especially advised for babies younger than 6 months, as their skin contains little melanin – the pigment that protects us from the sun.

You should avoid covers that are thick and provide little air circulation, as they are as harmful as a cloth cover. Don’t forget to protect your baby with high-factor sunscreen any time you go outside. Make sure that your baby is older than 6 months to use sunscreen, and look for products that are specifically designed for babies and young children.

Summer comes with nasty insects as well. Your toddler’s skin is much more fragile than yours, so an ordinary insect bite from a mosquito, fly or ant can cause serious irritation or even swelling. Apart from providing protection from the sun, a pram sun cover also acts as an insect repellent, especially when your child is younger than 6 months, or when spray repellents irritate their skin.

Take Care of Your Baby’s Skin

Apart from regularly applying sunscreen, you should pay close attention to your baby’s clothes. Make sure that they’re loose-fitting and cover enough skin to prevent sunburns but avoid overdressing which can lead to heat rashes. Cotton is the best material choice, as it allows the skin to breathe and easily absorbs sweat, while synthetic clothing may increase your baby’s discomfort. At night, dress them in only a diaper and a muslin wrap, while keeping the room temperature cool at around 16⁰C to 20⁰C.

Use natural skin products for your baby’s skin that promote hydration, and avoid products with harsh chemicals. First, test them on a small patch of skin in case they’re allergic to any of the ingredients. Don’t forget talcum powder which absorbs excessive perspiration and leaves their skin cool and dry, leaving a pleasant fragrance behind.

Lastly, avoid bathing your toddler every day, as this can increase their skin’s dryness. Limit baths to two times per week and try using a gentle shampoo with natural ingredients. Make sure that the bathwater is lukewarm and never leave your baby alone in the water, even for a few seconds.

Avoid Dehydration

picture of a woman feeding a baby in her hands
source: Sarah Chai on pexels

We already know how crucial it is to hydrate ourselves in the summer, this includes both you and your child. Babies younger than 6 months should only stick to breast milk or formula and should be fed more often to increase hydration. Once they’re nearing 6 months you can start introducing cooled boiled water as well. You can offer them water once they’ve had their usual milk feeds. When you introduce them to solid foods you should still keep breast milk as the main source of hydration, but you can regularly offer them sips of water.

For babies older than 12 months there are many ways to include water in their diet. Their main drinks should be water, breast milk and cow’s milk. On extremely hot days, you can give them frozen lollies from diluted fruit juice with meals. Avoid frozen lollies outside of mealtimes, as they can lead to tooth decay. As you start to include more foods into their diet, you can offer them fruit smoothies, which provide hydration as well as many essential nutrients. Best hydrating fruits and veggies for your toddler are melons, apples, citrus fruits, papaya, mango, spinach and cucumbers.

Bottom Line

Your baby should spend most of the hot summer days indoors, at a cool room temperature and wearing loose cotton clothing. However, don’t exclude short daily walks in nature that can be beneficial for their health. To protect them from harmful sun rays, invest in a quality sun protector for the pram that will also shield them from insects. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, and in case your baby gets serious burns or acts restless and irritable – immediately consult their pediatrician.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.