Baby Development How to Keep Babies Cool in the Summer Heat
Posted Jul 03 2009 1:38pm
By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist
Although it feels like it took forever, summer is finally here and so is the hot weather. With Independence Day right around the corner, families are planning fun activities that are more than likely outdoors. Adults and even little children can tell when you when they are hot or need some water but what about babies? Babies are sensitive to extreme temperatures too and can have difficulty falling asleep when it is warm just like their parents. This doesn't mean these tiny tots need to remain indoors all summer, just that parents need to be extra mindful on hot summer days. Here are a few ways keep your baby cool in the summer heat.
The delicate skin of infants makes them more prone to sunburn. Babies under 6 months of age should not use sun block thus it is important they remain in the shade. If you are heading for a day at the beach, be sure to bring an umbrella, a sun hat, and even a light blanket to protect babies skin. After 6 months of age, look for an organic infant sunscreen like Soleo Organics or California Baby. Some sun blocks, especially those marketed for adults, can contain harmful chemicals that can cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation.
Just like grown ups, babies sweat in the heat. However, since babies are so small they have a limited ability to retain extra fluids and lose fluids through perspiration at a much faster rate. For mothers who are breastfeeding, it is very important that you stay hydrated because baby is getting her fluids from you. Also, you can breastfeed more frequently on hot days to ensure adequate fluid intake. For formula fed babies, do not add additional liquids to the formula because this reduces the nutrient content which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Instead, in between feedings, you can offer him a small amount of cool, purified or distilled water. Be sure to consult your physician for additional information or if suspect your child is not getting adequate fluids. Remain diligent for signs of dehydration which include:
Refusal to eat or drink
Fewer wet diapers
Crying or irritability
Hot and dry skin
Elevated body temperature
Vomiting or diarrhea
Tired or lethargic
Fans can help circulate the air in the room, but should not be pointed directly at the child. Stick to fabrics like cotton both for their bodies and bedding as this helps absorb sweat to avoid a heat rash. Nap times can be tough if it is too warm for him to fall asleep so let him sleep in the coolest part of the house where there is a breeze. Also, never ever leave a child or infant in the car alone during any type of weather. Other cooling tips:
A sponge bath or bath in lukewarm water
Hang wet towels over chairs or windows to cool the air
Be sure the air in the room and around her is circulating: prams may block the airflow and so does additional bedding like crib pads.