Oh Baby, It’s Hot!

Keeping Your Baby Cool In the Summer Heat

Ice-cream, swimming, family outings, and playing in the garden… Summertime brings warm weather, lots of sunshine and plenty of opportunities to create wonderful memories with your baby. However…

“Babies are not as effective at cooling their bodies, because they do not sweat normally. In addition, they’re not able to tell you if they are overheating and not feeling well, “ says Sushmita Yallapragada, M.D., Neonatologist and Associate Medical Director of the Level IV NICU at Children’s Health℠ and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern.

So, how do you enjoy the summer vibes with your little one, while ensuring they stay as cool as a little cucumber? Here are some super cool tips to help you take care of your little ray of sunshine during the scorching summer months:

Hydration for Babies

Most people know that adults need to drink about eight glasses of water per day. However, giving your baby a shot of aqua to cool down might be less helpful. While it seems like the best idea to keep baby hydrated with some cool water, breast milk contains over 80% water and provides the fluids your baby needs. Children under 6 months who are bottle-fed will also stay hydrated with the help of their formula.

Once your baby is older than 6 months, you can give them small amounts of water to help them cool down – 50 ml per day in the middle of the day should be fine. Just remember to sterilize the water first by boiling and then letting it cool down – even unsterilized, bottled water can affect your baby’s immune system.

Dressing for the Occasion

Cute outfits and fun accessories are some of the best parts of being a new parent, and with so many to choose from, how could you not? Style wise, you’re on your own there, mama. But safety wise, there are a few things to consider, ensuring you keep baby cool in the super-hot weather:

  • Loosey goosies: Loose clothes made of natural fabric, like cotton, ensure your little one can breathe and their skin is not suffocated.
  • Layers: dressing for summer can be tricky, as your newborn’s temperature can change in an instant. The best advice we have? Layers! Rather dress baby in the coolest outfit possible and add layers when the temperature goes down. A good rule of thumb? When the weather is below 20 degrees Celsius, opt for a long sleeve babygrow (with open feet). When the temperature goes above 24 degrees Celsius, keep it short and lightweight (in light colours to reflect the sun) – even just a nappy is great in the summer heat.
  • Footie freedom: Avoid covering your baby’s feet during the summer months. Instead, opt for a footless baby grow. This will help baby cool down in the heat and encourages them to experience different textures, like beach sand or grass (great for development). You can always stash an extra pair of socks in the nappy bag in case it gets cold.

Extra tip: Looking for an excuse to play dress-up? Here it is! Changing outfits (at least once a day) will help to avoid a heat rash, as your little one will be sweating more than usual.

Summer Swaddling

While we all love swaddling our little nu-nu’s in loads of love, wrapping your baby in a warm blanket might make them feel a little irritable. If the wind is out, or the day has gone grey, opt for a muslin cloth or baby receiver – this will take the chilly edge off while ensuring they don’t overheat.

A Time and a Place…

Winter is for cuddling in doors, but the summer was made for exploring the outside world. And we bet your little adventurer agrees. However, you might want to avoid travelling between 10am and 2pm during the day – this is when the sun’s rays are at their harshest. If you must travel during these times, these tips should help make it more comfortable for your travelling tot:

  • Travelling by car: try to make the trip in the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the early morning. Make sure your baby is in the shade in the car when you are travelling and keep the car cool using the air conditioner or opening the windows.
  • Going for a stroll: avoid covering the pram with a blanket to protect your little one from the sun – this can reduce or stop air from flowing around your baby and, like being in a hot car, the temperature can rise quickly and by quite a lot. Instead, keep it shady by taking your baby on walks where there are loads of trees. Not only will baby enjoy the surrounding sounds of nature, but they’ll be grateful for the cooling effects of the shade too.
  • Baby carriers: being close to your little darling is the best feeling in the world, however, skin-on-skin contact can make an infant hot and bothered within a matter of minutes. Rather invest in a carriermade from lightweight nylon that will make it more comfortable for you to carry baby around too.
  • The best place to be: all dressed down with no place to go? That’s okay – babies can have the best time enjoying their own space too. Lay your little explorer down on a playmat in a shady spot (or even in an air-conditioned room) and let them discover the world around them.

Skincare is Essential

While we recommend that babies less than 6 months old be kept out of direct sunlight (their skin contains too little melanin, the pigment that provides some protection from the sun), we understand that a splash in the pool with mom or dad could be a great way to cool baby down in extreme heat. In this case, apply a high factor sunscreen to your baby’s skin. Choose a sunscreen specifically for babies and young children with a sun protection factor (SPF) as high as 30+. Apply sunscreen regularly, particularly if your baby is in and out of the sea or paddling pool.

While normal sunscreen can be used for babies six months and older, it is recommended that a milder form of sun protection be used for newborns. Baby Sebamed Multi Protect Sun Spray is water resistant, has triple protection against sun damage, and provides intense hydration for your baby.

Warning, Warning!

It’s important to learn how to recognise heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms to keep your child safe. Look out for early signs such as a heat rash, clammy skin and increased thirst to ensure your baby isn’t overheating.

If your baby is displaying symptoms of dehydration, consider consulting a doctor immediately.