Summers are carefree days by the pool, but as a mom you care more about your baby’s safety during the hot weather. When the mercury rises, keep your baby happy and healthy with our Hot Weather Survival Guide.
Understanding the effect of heat on the baby
Once it rises above 26 degrees, the body has a harder time cooling down, especially for babies. Heat should therefore be avoided as much as possible. Babies don’t sweat, which for us adults is our body’s way of cooling off, so they can often get heat stroke much faster than an older child or adult. In addition, babies can also become dehydrated more quickly.
Choose the right clothes
If you plan to be indoors, dress your baby in loose, lightweight clothing, preferably made from natural fibers like cotton, which absorb sweat better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb: “Dress the baby as you are dressed”.
For the outdoors, wear light-colored long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed hat to protect his face. Resist the temptation to leave it exposed on a gray day, as harmful rays can penetrate clouds.
Ensure good ventilation
Since a baby does not sweat efficiently, he can overheat much faster than an adult. This is why you should never leave a baby in a warm room or a parked car. Even a few minutes can raise his temperature and, in extreme cases, be life threatening.
Also, don’t over-dress your newborn baby for the car. As we keep babies rather tight in the car seat and rear facing, it can get very hot so keep it dressed in a single light layer, with no hat or covered feet, babies transfer a bit of heat to cool your feet and head. Also, make sure that the sun does not hit the infant during your ride. You can use a window shade to prevent sunburn.
Use a baby carrier
The combination of your body heat and the confined space of the wearer can make an infant warm and upset within minutes. Choose a lightweight nylon baby carrier rather than a heavy fabric like denim.
If a child’s face begins to redden, remove it from the wearer immediately. You can help your baby stay cool by spraying their hands and feet with water or wiping them occasionally with a damp cloth.
Keep it hydrated
Even if you don’t see drops of sweat dripping from your baby’s forehead, she can lose valuable fluids from sweating in hot weather. Redness in the face, skin warm to the touch, rapid breathing, and restlessness can be warning signs of dehydration.
Since infants under 6 months old should not drink water (babies over 6 months old may take small amounts), replace any lost fluids by giving extra formula or breastfeeding more frequently.
Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer, therefore, a 4.5 kg baby who usually takes 50 cl should drink at least 80 cl. Also make sure your newborn has as many wet diapers as usual.
Time spent outdoors
The worst time for your baby (and you for that matter) to be outside is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun hurts the skin the most. Plan outdoor activities before or after this peak period.
Watch out for heat exhaustion
When you are outside with your little one, keep an eye on the meadows for any signs of heat exhaustion. If he is too hot, he may become very cranky or irritable, or he may become very lethargic and not wake up to eat or drink.
Also check if he has hot flashes or feels hotter than usual. As the overheating worsens, he may be more drowsy, vomit, and his skin may change from wet to very dry. He may have a fever. A baby with these signs needs immediate medical attention.
Look for shade
When you get to the beach or park, look for a sheltered spot, like under a tree, umbrella, or awning. It is best to have with you a tent made of fabric treated to block the harmful rays of the sun.
Sunglasses for your little one can protect their eyes and reduce glare; the label should state that the lenses block at least 99% of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB).
Be careful with sunscreens
Since a baby under 6 months old has thin, delicate skin, try to keep him out of direct sunlight. But for times when it’s impractical (like, when taking a dip in the water with mum or dad), make sure he is wearing sunscreen.
For babies over 6 months, use sunscreen more generously and more often. Reapply every two hours, or whenever it gets wet or sweaty.
Choose a waterproof sunscreen designed for children with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it also under clothing.
If an infant sweats profusely in hot, humid weather small red bumps may start to build up on their neck or groin, in the folds of their skin on the back of their knees, or in the creases of their elbows. To relieve heat rashes, take off her tacky outfit and dress her in loose cotton clothes (or just a diaper), and apply cornstarch baby powder to the affected areas. Keeping it in a cool, well-ventilated room will help relieve symptoms.
A sunburn, characterized by hot, red, swollen skin that is painful to touch, can cause a baby even more pain. Apply cold tap water, followed by moisturizer, to the burned area. Do not pop the blisters; they protect against infection.
It is therefore important to protect your child well, to be alert according to his reactions, but to always be one step ahead. Moisturize it well, cover it with good materials and avoid the sun.