Summer promises a lot of fun bonding time with the family. There will be many sunny days ahead that can be spent frolicking in the beach, going on road trips, or simply meeting other babies for play dates.
However, as promising as summer can be, the harsh heat of the sun poses risks, especially to your baby. Your newborn baby’s skin is still delicate, and direct exposure to sunlight can cause sunburn and other heat-related injuries.
Overheating is also a real danger especially because a newborn baby cannot regulate their own temperature yet. It can also put a baby at a higher risk of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
It never hurts to be too careful when it comes to your baby’s health and well-being, and keeping them cool during hot days should be your top priority this summer. To do this, here are 8 important things to keep in mind.
1. Keep your baby well-hydrated.
The first thing you need to make sure of is your baby’s hydration. The tricky part about monitoring your baby is that they may not always perspire when it gets too hot. This is due to their limited capacity to self-regulate their body temperature.
What you can monitor, though, is the number of wet diapers they have in a day. If the number considerably decreases from what they usually have, then your baby may be overheated.
If you are breastfeeding, feed on demand because your baby will be feeding more than usual. If your baby is bottle-feeding, mix-feeding, or is already eating solids, it is helpful to give them cooled sterilized water throughout the day. During the summer, increase your baby’s fluid intake by at least 50 percent more.
2. Always stay in well-ventilated areas.
Basically, if it’s hot, then you need to stay in a cool, well-ventilated area. Stay in the cooler part of your home, particularly in the part of your home that is not facing direct sunlight. It’s also a good idea to keep your baby cool and comfortable by using fans and air conditioners.
Overheating can also happen inside the car. Even if there is air-conditioning inside your car, harsh sunlight may still go through the windows. It is advisable, then, to use a window shade. Most importantly, never leave your baby inside a stuffy room or a parked car, even for just a few minutes!
3. Stay indoors when the sun is high.
If possible, stay out of the sun when its heat is at its peak. Avoid going outside between 10:00 am and at least 2:00 pm. To be safe, extend these hours and avoid going outside until around 4:00 pm.
It is during these hours that the sun does the most damage to our skin. Considering how sensitive and delicate your newborn baby’s skin is, even a minute of exposure to harsh sunlight may result to sunburn and other related skin injuries.
4. If you have to go outdoors, use sunscreen.
If, for some reason, you absolutely need to go outdoors during the hours when the sun is at its peak, then don’t forget to use sunscreen. Before, using sunscreen on a newborn baby’s delicate skin was discouraged. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP now allows the use of sunscreen.
It is important to take note that the AAP only allows the use of minimal sunscreen. In addition, it should only be applied on your baby’s exposed skin. To minimize damage, it is still best to keep your newborn baby in the shade and away from direct sunlight.
5. Use cotton instead of synthetic fabrics.
The practical choice when it comes to summer-appropriate clothing is natural fiber. Dressing your baby in clothing made of natural fibers, such as 100% premium cotton, is better as it allows better airflow. They are also better because they will not irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
Clothing made of synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, does not absorb sweat as effectively as cotton does. They also typically cling to the skin. Thus, using synthetic fabrics may cause your baby to feel hot and uncomfortable.
Aside from choosing breathable materials for your baby’s clothing, it is also important to dress them lightly. Summer is not a good time for overdressing and layering garments. Instead, choose baby clothes that fit loosely and are easy to put on and take off.
6. Take the diaper off from time to time.
Another reason why your baby may overheat is the disposable diaper that they are wearing. Disposable diapers are usually made of plastic, which traps heat and perspiration. Aside from overheating, wearing disposable diapers in the summer may also cause rashes and skin irritations.
It is very helpful to take your baby’s diaper off from time to time and let their skin breathe. If this is impractical, then opt for cloth diapers over disposable ones. Aside from being better for the environment, cloth diapers are more breathable and allow for better ventilation, keeping your baby feeling fresh during hot days.
7. Opt for lightweight bedding and blankets.
Aside from dressing your baby in light clothing, it is also essential to use bedding and blankets made of natural fibers. Cotton fitted sheets and bedding and cotton muslin blankets are prime choices because they are more lightweight, absorbent, and breathable.
Using cotton bedding and blankets will keep your baby from getting drenched in sweat. Instead, they will feel cooler and definitely more comfortable. During this time, it is also best to avoid using heavy quilts and comforters as well as waterproof mattress protectors made of plastic.
8. Give them a bath when it gets too hot.
Finally, don’t scrimp on sponge baths during especially hot summer days! Offering your baby cool sponge baths is a great way for them to cool down, and it also serves as a fun bonding time for the both of you.
While you may certainly bathe your baby in the tub, but bathing your baby too often may dry out their skin. Instead, give them sponge baths for just enough time to cool their skin. It is unnecessary to use soap, which can strip off your baby’s skin’s natural moisture.
The heat of the summer sun may pose risks to your family, especially to your newborn baby. But with these 8 tips for keeping your baby cool, summertime is a fun time!