While summer fun is likely starting to trickle into conversations in your home, so should another topic: summer safety...especially if you have a baby.
Summer is just around the corner, along with your favorite fun-in-the-sun activities. Temperatures around the country will soon climb into the 80’s, 90’s, and even 100’s.
Newborns are especially vulnerable because they can’t tell you when they are getting too hot; your baby relies on you to keep them cool and hydrated. It may seem obvious, but the dangerous impact of high heat on babies is startling.
Here are just a few summer safety facts every parent needs to be aware of:
- The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults.
- The Heat Index = the temperature the body feels from the combined effect of heat and humidity. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15° F.
- More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children under age 2. Heat stroke can occur when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
- A car can reach 110 degrees when temperatures are only in the 60s. More than half of heat stroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.
So, what’s a mom to do? Here are ten tips for keeping your newborn cool and safe from the potential dangers of summer heat.
10 Summer Safety Tips for Your Baby
1. Be heat wave ready
The Red Cross offers a Heat Wave Safety Check List.
2. Block the sun
Babies younger than 6 months need to be kept out of direct and indirect sunlight because of the risk of heat stroke. Avoid having your newborn outside between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. Use shade trees, tents, or umbrellas during outdoor activities.
3. Travel shaded
Shade the car window
next to your infant. Sun shades
for infant seats and strollers can actually keep your baby’s space an average of 26 degrees F cooler.
4. Liberally enjoy cold water and cool towels
Nursing moms need to drink extra water to prevent dehydration, and to keep up with their baby’s increased need for fluid. For longer outings, carry along a small ice cooler, extra drinking water, damp wash cloths in baggies, or Chilly Pad Cooling Towels. Some bottles with insulation stay chilled, offering heat relief for up to four hours.
5. Dress your baby in lightweight clothing
Reduce your baby's clothing to a single layer, or to one more layer than you’re wearing. Cotton garments absorb moisture away from the skin, and help prevent heat rash. Onesies
are a favorite go-to.
6. Keep lightweight blankets handy
They can help
regulate your baby’s temperature when transitioning from one environment to another.
7. Keep a sun hat in the diaper bag.
Schedules change, and weather shifts. A light weight, wide-brimmed hat
can protect your baby from harmful sunburn.
8. No air-conditioner? Try a tepid bath or shower, and then quietly rest near slow fans.
Place the fans far enough away so that a very gentle breeze drifts over you and your newborn. Soft air flowing over the skin calms the nervous system.
9. Avoid the use of powders, creams, and ointments.
Creams and ointments tend to keep the skin warmer and block pores. Baby powders do not improve or prevent heat rash.
10. Protect yourself against leaving your baby in the car.
Put something like your cellphone or purse in the back seat as a reminder to open the back door whenever you park. Consider keeping a stuffed animal in the car seat. When you load your baby into the car, place the animal up front, as a reminder that your baby is in the back. Go here
for advice about protecting your baby when in a car.
What tips, tricks, and props do you use to help keep your baby cool and safe in the summer heat? The methods that are obvious to you might be just the solution someone else hasn’t thought of and needs. We’d love to hear your ideas below!