You and your infant may be spending summer inside snuggling with board books or playing on activity mats. Or you may like to be outside splashing in the pool. Either way summer can be a tricky time to keep a baby safe and comfortable in the heat.
If your baby is overdressed, an angry heat rash can develop. Your baby can also be vulnerable to sunburns or heatstroke.
As members of your child’s team, we have some suggestions to keep your baby safe in the summer heat. Don’t worry – you can still be super mom or dad and take your child on fun summer outings. Just be aware of your child’s limits and know how to protect them.
- Pick the right clothes
For an inside playdate, dress your infant in a loose-fitting, lightweight outfit. Try to stay away from synthetic fabrics and choose natural fiber-like cotton clothes. Natural fabrics absorb perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb is to dress your infant in what you’re wearing that day. If you feel comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt, dress your infant in a similar fashion.
Do you want to take a morning walk around the park? Then put your child in light-colored long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a wide brimmed hat to shield the face.
- Keep hydrated
Be aware of the possibility of dehydration after spending time in the sun. Dehydration warning signs include a flushed face, skin that’s warm to the touch, rapid breathing and restlessness. To prevent dehydration, give your infant extra formula or nurse more frequently. Just remember: Babies should drink at least 50% more than usual in the summer so give an extra bottle as needed.
- Time outdoor activities wisely
Try to avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Known as the “peak period,” the rays during this time can be incredibly damaging to your infant’s more delicate skin.
- Use sunscreen appropriately
A baby under six months has thin, delicate skin and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take your baby for a dip in the pool. Just ensure that your child is wearing sunscreen. We recommend using a nonallergenic sunscreen – that’s PABA, dye and perfume free – with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 50.
For a baby older than six months, use sunscreen more often. Apply every two hours or whenever your baby gets wet or becomes sweaty. Suburban Pediatrics also recommends replacing your sunscreen every year as its effectiveness decreases over time.
“Summer is a very exciting time for you and your family. Just remember to keep a close eye on your infants in the heat and their extra needs while having fun.” – Dr. Robert Wallace