During the summertime, we know that temperatures get hot – sometimes too hot. We’ve already talked about ways to stay cool and comfortable during your summer pregnancy. If you are a mother with a new baby, you are also concerned with keeping your newborn cool. Here are a few key things to remember and a few sun protection tips for beating the heat with your baby.
Limit sun exposure
It’s best to keep your newborn (or any infant) out of the sun during the hours of 10 am – 2 pm, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is when the sun is at its strongest. When you do go outside, keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. We’ve previously talked about stroller safety. A stroller with a canopy will help shade your baby from the sun. Definitely avoid draping a blanket over your stroller for sun protection. This can pose suffocation risks, prevent you from seeing if your baby is in distress or even increase the chance of overheating due to poor circulation.
Dress your baby appropriately
Dress your newborn in loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The best options are lightweight long pants and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt. To shield their face and neck, add a wide-brimmed hat.
Talk to your pediatrician about sunscreen
We know that sun exposure is more dangerous for infants and children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, their skin is thinner than adult skin, and also has less protective melanin. As mentioned before, the best way to protect your newborn from the sun is to keep them out of it. If there’s no way to avoid it, then check with your pediatrician about the best sunscreen to use to avoid exposure to chemicals in sunscreen or any rashes. The American Academy of Dermatology says sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are less likely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin. Sunscreen can be applied to any areas not covered by clothing or hats. Of course – don’t forget to reapply!
Never leave your baby in a parked car
Car temperatures can heat up very quickly, warns the CDC. Even with the windows open, temperatures can rise up almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in a short amount of time! Remember to check that everyone is out of the car before you go inside, especially any sleeping children!
Keep your baby hydrated
On hot days, always make sure you have fluids readily available. Infants under six months don’t drink water, so they should regularly drink breast milk or formula. There are ways to tell if your baby is dehydrated. Keep an eye out for fewer tears when the baby cries, less energy, and a dry mouth. If you are changing fewer than six wet diapers per day, there is a chance your baby is dehydrated. You can always call your doctor if your baby is displaying any of these signs. He or she can offer you appropriate advice for rehydration and perform a proper checkup.
Our last bit of advice – if you’re feeling hot, you know your baby probably is, too! As the CDC so importantly points out: “Infants and young children rely on others to keep them cool and hydrated when it’s hot outside.” Below is a great infographic to help spot signs of heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses, as well as what you should do if these cases arise.