It may officially still be spring, but ready or not, the summer heat has arrived. While the season comes with many benefits–like being able to snuggle your little one in nothing but a onesie and that soft-as-can-be skin–there are a few safety steps you’ll want to take in the warm weather, particularly if your baby is under a year old.
Here are a few dos and don’ts to guide you:
Do dress baby in lose, comfortable cotton or linen clothing–not in heavy or uncomfortable synthetic fabrics.
Do keep your baby hydrated with breast milk or formula. Babies under 6 months should not have water.
Do bring along shade or seek it out. Pick parent meet-ups in parks with lots of trees. Going to the beach? Bring a shade tent or beach umbrella. Anything that helps keep the sun from beating down and baby heating up.
Do plan outside time wisely. This means staying cooler indoors during peak sun hours (11 to 2 or 3pm) and avoiding long stretches outdoors.
Do have a mini spray bottle of water handy to keep baby cool. Simply spritz a little cool water on hands or feet, or dab a little on the back of the neck with your fingers.
Do pack extra clothing This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it’s really warm, it’s easy to under-estimate the need for extra clothing. As you feel baby is sweating through clothing (you’ll likely see/feel it on her back) you can keep baby dry and comfortable with frequent onesie changes.
Don’t forget the sun hat. As I mentioned in our Top 5 Summer Must-Haves For Newborns, babies under six months old shouldn’t wear sunscreen. Using a wide brimmed hat while outdoors will provide sun protection.
Don’t ignore heat warnings. When you see weather advisories that warn of poor air quality and extreme heat, it’s important to take them seriously. Not everyone is a fan of AC or Central Air, but it’s definitely better to wait that kind of weather out in cooler temps and well ventilated spaces.
Don’t leave baby in the car for any length of time. It may be tempting when your baby’s sleeping to keep him in the car seat with windows down, but even if you’re just steps away, heat stroke can happen in a matter of minutes. On hot days, always take baby out of the car and out of the car seat once you’re at your destination.
Do contact your baby’s pediatrician immediately if you feel your baby is being adversely affected by heat. Signs may include lethargy, irritability, high temperature, or red skin tone. Whenever you feel like something’s just not right, it’s always better to call and check things out.
-Carole Kramer Arsenault