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How To Keep Your Baby Cool This Summer

Everyone needs time spent outdoors, even your little one! Time spent outside can help regulate and balance your child’s sleeping patterns and provide the vitamin D needed to strengthen their teeth and bones. Overall, learning to navigate the world outside your home and day care is important for your child’s physical and cognitive development, but in the warmest parts of the year, outside hours might actually pose health risks for your little one.

Babies are a bit unique in that they don’t yet have the ability to regulate their internal temperatures so they can overheat very quickly. Plus, they cannot cool their bodies because they’re unable to sweat normally. That’s why The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests avoiding taking babies outside for long periods of time if the heat index is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Prolonged outdoor exposure on extremely hot days can cause infants to overheat quickly.

Signs of Overheating in Babies

Like in adults, overheating and dehydration is dangerous and can be life threatening. But since your baby cannot sweat properly yet, it’s important to know the telltale signs that they’re too hot while outdoors, especially since they can’t tell you they’re uncomfortable. 

Here are the top 8 signs that your baby is too hot:

Care for Babies Under 6 Months

Babies younger than six months are particularly susceptible to heat distress due to the fragile nature of their bodies but especially their skin. Avoid taking babies in their age range outside in warmer temperatures, but if you do, dress your little one in a wide-brimmed sun hat and sunglasses to block the sun from their face and eyes and keep them out of direct sunlight. We also recommend applying a car window shade to protect them during car rides and seeking trees or other sources of shade when you’re moving around outside. 

Don’t forget, sunscreen can irritate your baby’s developing skin so avoid all sunscreens for babies under six months.

10 Top Ways To Keep Infants Cool When Outside

For babies above six months old, here are the top 10 tips to keep handy for managing their temperature and keeping them cool, comfortable, and safe this summer:

  1. Avoid the hottest times of day—during the summer, it can get hot pretty early so plan to take your baby out in the early morning or late evening hours so you can spend the hottest parts of the day inside. 
  2. Dress your baby appropriately—dress your baby in a single layer of lightly colored, moisture-absorbent material. Ensure it’s breathable so opt for items like a lightweight cotton onesie or romper and fabrics like cotton and linen.
  3. Keep your baby hydrated—while your little one may not be sweating, they may quickly become dehydrated if the weather is severe. Plan for extra bottles or to breastfeed more often to keep them hydrated.
  4. Keep a fan or two on hand—before leaving the house, don’t forget to add a few full-charged fans to help you keep your baby cool.
  5. Schedule inside time—even if you have a full day at the beach, ensure there are breaks scheduled for you to bring your little one to a cooler space. Time outside and in the heat can be exhausting so having 15 minute breaks where you sit in an air-conditioned car or shop can help your baby stay cool during a long, hot day.
  6. Use cool, not cold water to bathe your baby—keep your little one cool with frequent lukewarm baths or sponge your baby with a cool towel often.
  7. Stay in the shade—pack an umbrella or seek out trees to ensure there’s enough shade to protect your baby from the direct sunlight.
  8. Slop on SPF30+ or higher, broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin.
  9. Avoid baby capsules and prams in the heat—a closed-off pram can restrict airflow, especially if you’ve draped a towel over it to protect them from the sun; this can increase the temperature around your baby and lead to heat distress.
  10. Be prepared for a potential heat rash—when in a hot environment, your baby may develop small, raised spots on the skin known as heat rash (prickly heat). because they can't control their temperature as well as adults and older children. Your doctor can recommend an on-the-spot remedy such as a calamine lotion or anhydrous lanolin.

If your baby’s symptoms don’t subside after signs of heat distress, call your pediatrician immediately!

But don’t let the fear of heat distress prevent you and your little one from safely enjoying beautiful, sunny days. Prepare as best as you can and get out there and make outdoor memories with your little ones!

Written by:
Davina Adcock

Davina is a native of Grenada and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She's a content specialist with a passion for empowering women to thrive and reach their full potential. In her free time, Davina is probably painting, reading, or baking something unnecessarily sweet.

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