Summer heat can be wonderful and fun, but it’s not always good for young children and babies. Babies and young children don’t have the same ability to regulate their temperatures as we do. This means that they can overheat much quicker than adults. There are a few things you can do to help keep your little ones cool in the summer heat.
- Babies under six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight completely, as their skin is lacking in melanin which helps to protect skin from the sun. It’s not recommended to use a sunscreen on babies under six months, so it’s better to make sure that they are always in the shade.
- Dress your baby in light layers. Look for light, natural fabrics such as cotton.
- Make sure your baby is hydrated. Breastfed babies probably won’t need anything extra, but bottle-fed babies may need some boiled, cooled water in addition to their usual milk feeds.
- Babies over six months should still be kept out of the sun as much as possible. The sun is at its hottest between 11am and 3pm, so either keep them inside or make sure that you use a parasol or shade, as well as a sunscreen with an SPF protection of at least 30 applied regularly.
- Dress in light layers and use natural fabrics as much as possible.
- Hydration is extremely important. Make sure that your baby is getting enough to drink. Breast milk or formula will still be the main drink at this age, but you should offer water at mealtimes, and throughout the day if it’s particularly warm.
- A paddling pool is a great way to help keep your little one cool during the summer. Use cool, but not cold water, and let your little one splash away. Make sure to keep the paddling pool out of direct sunlight.
- Try to keep your children’s bedroom between 16 and 20 degrees. This is the most comfortable temperature for sleeping.
- Make sure that the bedding you use is lightweight and try to get cotton materials.
- Try to avoid using any waterproof bedding as they can become sweaty quickly.
- Don’t swaddle your baby. If they’re too warm in their usual nightclothes, consider letting them sleep in just a nappy, covered by a well-secured sheet that won’t come free.
Babies can become overheated quickly, and you need to know what to look for, and how to help your little one cool down.
Keep an eye out for some of these symptoms of overheating:
- Your baby may feel warm to the touch.
- Their skin may be red, or have small red dots, or a heat rash.
- Your baby’s heartbeat may be faster than usual.
- Your baby may have a fever but might not be sweating.
- Your baby might be lethargic or unresponsive.
- Your baby may seem dizzy or confused.
- Your baby might be vomiting.
If you think your baby has overheated, there are some things you can do to try to help your baby cool down.
- Offer fluids. Offer your baby small sips of boiled, cooled water.
- Move your little one to a cooler room.
- Take off your baby’s clothes and change them for one light layer.
- Give your baby a lukewarm sponge bath.
If your baby doesn’t improve, or you are still worried, contact your doctor and ask for advice.