For most, summer is synonymous with backyard barbeques, playground playdates, pool parties, and going to the beach. But as the temperature rises, so does the risk to your baby. You need to pay extra attention to what they wear, eat, and drink during this season to help them adjust to the surrounding temperature.
How Does Heat or Sun Exposure Affect Babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no specific temperature is considered too high for babies to go outdoors. However, you do need to limit their time outside. Avoid taking them outside during the hottest hours or when the temperature is over 80 degrees. This is mainly because babies are not yet able to sweat, the body’s natural way of cooling itself, which is why babies are more prone to heat strokes. Additionally, infants are also more likely to get dehydrated faster. You should also avoid exposing them to direct sunlight as much as possible because their skin is still very sensitive.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Baby?
Here’s a list of some common proper infant care tips during the summer from parents.com.
- Proper clothing. During summertime, the temperature can really rise even indoors. So, dress your baby accordingly with lightweight and loose-fitting garments made from breathable, natural fiber, such as cotton. Cotton absorbs sweat better than synthetic fabrics, which is why it is a better choice. As a general rule, dress your child the way you would dress yourself. Don’t wrap them in a blanket if you wouldn’t wrap yourself in one. If you need to go outdoors, make sure that your baby wears light-colored clothes (long pants and long-sleeved shirt) and a wide-brimmed hat to protect him from the damaging rays of the sun.
- Stay hydrated. Just because your baby does not have sweat dripping down his forehead, it doesn’t mean he is okay. For all you know, he could already be at the brink of a heat stroke. A skin that is too warm to the touch, a flushed face, rapid breathing, and restlessness are warning signs that your baby may already be dehydrated. So, make sure to keep your baby hydrated at all times. Do take note, however, that babies under six months old are not yet allowed to drink water. You can give him extra formula or nurse him more frequently instead.
- Good Ventilation. Babies are still unable to regulate heat in their body, so leaving them in a parked car or hot room even for a few minutes may prove fatal. Likewise, avoid overdressing newborns for a car ride, since they are already being kept in tight, rear-facing car seats.
Infants and young children are especially susceptible to heat. If they do not get enough ventilation, shade, and water, they may end up with a heat stroke. This is no simple condition, as it has taken many lives already. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from a possible heat stroke, do not hesitate to seek the help of a pediatrician at Pediatrix in Phoenix for proper infant care.