Hot weather can make it tricky for parents to keep their infants safe and comfortable. Babies are easily affected by heat. Overdress a baby and they develop a heat rash; expose their fragile body to hot conditions and they could get a sunburn or heatstroke.
As a parent, it is now an important responsibility for you to take good care of your little one in the midst of the hot weather these days.
To make sure your little one stays cool and protected during the long, hot days, check out our expert advice.
Pick the Right Clothes
If you’re going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight garments, preferably made from a natural fiber like cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb: “Dress the baby the way you’re dressed.” If you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for her too. For the outdoors, put her in light-colored long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield her face. Resist the temptation to leave her exposed on a grey day, since harmful rays can penetrate the clouds.
Provide Good Ventilation
Since a baby doesn’t perspire effectively, she 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 her body temperature to go up.
Keep Her Hydrated
Even if you don’t see beads of sweat dripping from your infant’s forehead, she 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. Since infants under 6 months shouldn’t drink water (babies over 6 months can take in modest amounts), replace the lost liquids by giving him extra formula or by nursing more frequently. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer (normal fluid intake is at least two ounces per pound per day), so a ten-pound baby who usually takes in 20 ounces should be offered a minimum of 30 ounces.
Time Outdoor Activities Wisely
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the sun is a little too hot, making it unsuitable for young infants to go outdoors. Plan outdoor excursions for before or after this peak period.
When you arrive at the beach or the park, look for a protected spot, such as under a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy. A handy item to take to the shore 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. Sunglasses for your little one is a good idea, to protect her eyes and reduce glare; the label should state that the lenses block at least 99 percent of ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation.
Be Cautious with Sunscreen
Since a baby under 6 months has thin, delicate skin, try to keep her out of direct sunlight. But for times when that is implausible, please make sure she’s wearing sunscreen. The American Academy of Paediatrics now says it’s okay to apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to a baby’s exposed skin, including the face.
For a baby older than 6 months, use sunscreen more liberally and more often. Reapply every two hours, or whenever he gets wet or sweaty. Choose a waterproof sunscreen designed for kids, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it under clothing too. “An average cotton T-shirt has an SPF of only five,” Dr. Siegel notes.
If an infant sweat profusely during hot, humid weather, heat rashes may start to clutter on her skin. To relieve heat rash, remove her sticky outfit and dress her in loose cotton clothes (or simply a diaper), and apply corn starch baby powder to the affected areas. Keeping her in a cool, well-ventilated room will help relieve symptoms.
Seek medical advice immediately if a child under age 1 gets a sunburn. The doctor will likely have you apply cool (not cold) tap water, followed by a moisturizer, to the burned area. Don’t pop blisters; they protect against infection. Infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be appropriate for relieving discomfort.
In conclusion, the hot weather causes discomfort in adults and children. There may be risks to young infants when the weather is too hot but fret not. You can make sure your baby is healthy and comfortable if these measures are taken appropriately.