Keeping your Baby Cool in Hot Weather.
If you are heading off to the sun on holidays this year or making the most of the beautiful sunshine here at the moment, here are a few tips to help you keep your little one cool.
If you are going to the beach or the park, look for a protected spot, such as under a tree or an umbrella. A handy item to take to the beach is a tent made of fabric treated to block the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure it has see-through mesh sides for proper ventilation. Keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible, especially when the sun is at its strongest (between 11am to 3pm).
Remember to apply high factor sunscreen. Use a brand that’s formulated specifically for babies and young children, offering a total sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 plus. It’s always best to keep baby out of direct sunlight.
Drink plenty of fluids so you and your baby don’t get dehydrated.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk. However, they may want to breastfeed a little more than usual.
If you’re bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day. If your baby wakes at night, they’ll probably want milk but if they’ve had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well.
Even if you don’t see beads of sweat dripping from your infant’s forehead, he can be losing precious fluids to perspiration in hot weather. A flushed face, skin that’s warm to the touch, rapid breathing, and restlessness may be warning signs of dehydration.
Keep bedrooms cool throughout the day by keeping blinds or curtains closed. You can also use a fan to circulate the air in the room. Blackout blinds are useful in keeping the room temperature at a comfortable level. A cool bath before bed is often beneficial.
A nursery thermometer will help you to monitor the room temperature. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when the room is between 16°C (61°F) and 20°C (68°F).
What to wear?
If you’re going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight clothes, preferably made from a natural fibre like cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. Dressing your baby in ‘layers’ means you can put on (and take off) jackets, tops, pants, vests as needed. If you are in very hot conditions, just having your baby in a vest and a nappy may be all that is needed. You may consider using lightweight bedding linen, covering the baby with a sheet only, or using a cotton blanket that is loosely woven, so that it ‘breathes’ much better.
Wrapping your baby loosely and using a material that is light allows the air to circulate. However it is not essential that you wrap your baby. For the outdoors, put baby in light-coloured long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield her face. Resist the temptation to leave baby exposed on a dull day, since harmful rays can penetrate the clouds.
Provide Good Ventilation
Since a baby doesn’t perspire effectively, he can become overheated far more quickly than an adult. That’s why you should never leave an infant in a hot room or a parked car. Even a few minutes could cause his temperature to spike. Open windows to allow air to circulate but avoid putting baby in a draught.
Frank Kelleher D.O., G.Os.C., R.N.M.H.
The Children’s Clinic
Model Farm Road