Your baby’s first summer is exciting, but it can also pose some health risks. Because babies are more sensitive to heat and cold, many parents don’t know how to protect them from extreme temperatures. However, with a little education, there’s no reason to avoid summer fun. Follow these five tips to keep your baby cool this summer and keep them happy, healthy and safe from the heat.
Use the Bathtub as a Kiddie Pool
A cool bath after being outside will help lower your baby’s body temperature and help them relax. Kiddie pools are great for babies to cool off in. Even if you live in an apartment or don’t have the space for a small pool, there’s no problem. You can fill up the bath with a few inches of cool water and let your baby splish and splash to their heart’s content. For some extra stimulation, you can give them plenty of water toys and add a little soap to create bubbles. Never leave your baby unattended in the water, even if you’re just stepping outside for a second. Avoid any distractions including cell phones and other people.
Dress Your Baby in Light, Breathable Fabrics
Avoid layers or heavy materials such as fleece during the summer. Even indoors, babies can quickly overheat and risk suffering from a heat stroke. Infants cannot regulate their body temperatures the same way adults do, so dressing them appropriately for the weather is crucial. Generally, when dressing your baby, you should only add an extra layer to what you would normally wear. If you’re inside an air-conditioned space, you might wear a t-shirt and shorts. For your baby, a simple cotton onesie with a pair of thin sweatpants will suffice.
Make Sure Your HVAC Is Clean
A malfunctioning air conditioner puts everyone at risk, especially babies. Just because your AC turns on doesn’t necessarily mean it is doing its job properly. Contact residential air conditioning services, and have them come take a look at your system. As a general rule of thumb, you should have your air conditioner serviced at least once a year. A summer AC tune-up includes inspecting the unit, making minor repairs, refilling the refrigerant and changing the air filter.
Pay Attention to Hydration
Babies under 6 months old do not require additional water. However, you may have to give your baby additional breast milk or formula to help them stay cool. To check if they’re getting enough hydration, count their diapers. Six to eight wet diapers a day is a sign of good hydration, For babies over 6 months, give them cooled boiled water in a bottle for extra hydration. Boiling water kills any harmful bacteria that could make your baby sick. Bottled and filtered water is also acceptable.
Know the Signs of Baby Heatstroke
It can be difficult for parents to realize something is wrong with their baby because they display symptoms so differently. Often, the signs of a heat stroke and other illnesses are much more subtle in infants than in adults. The biggest warning signs that your baby is experiencing a heat stroke are:
- Sweating that suddenly stops
- Pale and clammy skin
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing, possibly panting
- Fewer wet diapers or urine that is dark
- The soft spot of the baby’s head is sunken
- Seeming limp or “floppy,” appearing more tired and fussy than usual
Unconscious or not rousing from sleep
If you suspect your baby is having a heatstroke, call 911 and request emergency care right away. If your baby is conscious, offer them some sips of cool—not cold—water. Remove all excess clothing and try to cool them as much as possible by fanning them. You may also try misting them with cool water.
Summer Safety for Everyone
Paying close attention to your baby this summer can make you more aware of others’ wellness and your own. As you enjoy the outdoors when the sun is out, dehydration and heat exhaustion can set in quickly. Make sure that you and your family stick to shady spots when you’re outside. Also, remember to always wear sunscreen and stay hydrated whenever you’re outdoors.
As your baby enjoys and adjusts to their first summer, be mindful of their different needs. Keep your home cool to avoid indoor heatstroke, and be on the lookout for symptoms of distress or discomfort.