7 Signs Your Baby Is Overheated, Which Can Happen Any Time Of The Year
As a parent, one of the scariest thoughts you may have is if your baby is too warm or too cold, because it's not always obvious right away. You're not alone if you've been known to sneak into your baby's room at night, just to make sure their temperature was OK before drifting off to sleep on your own. Although checking the temperature of the room is a great place to start, there are other signs your baby is overheated that you should pay attention to as well.
No matter what the season of the year is, there's always the chance your baby will get too hot. It certainly happens more often in the summer, but overheating isn't off the table in fall or winter either. Things like dressing your baby in too many layers or turning up the heat too high in their room are common culprits of causing babies to overheat even when the weather is cold outside.
Remember, babies and children have less developed abilities to regulate their internal temperature, making them more susceptible to overheating than adults. To make sure your baby's body temperature is at the right level, be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather and keep the temperature indoors cool enough.
But even if you follow all the rules, there's still a chance your baby could overheat. Here are some signs your baby may be a little too warm and could use some help cooling down.
1. They Feel Warm To The Touch
The first sign your baby is getting too hot is that they'll feel warm to the touch. There’s a simple way to tell if your baby is too hot or overheating, says family physician Giuseppe Aragona, M.D. “You’ll need to touch their ears and neck. If they are red and hot, your baby is too warm,” he says. Dr. Aragona says babies’ temperatures vary during the day, so make sure they're at a comfortable temperature both when they're sleeping and throughout the day.
When your baby is sleeping, it's important to make sure they're not wearing too many clothes. Dress your newborn in thin layers — cotton breathes well — that can be removed as needed.
2. Their Skin Is Red
Some children naturally get more red than others when they're hot, but Dr. Aragona says it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to overheating. The danger lies in having beet-red skin combined with other symptoms, including rapid pulse and nausea, which can be signs of heatstroke. Try removing a layer or turning down the temperature if you notice your child's skin getting abnormally red.
3. They Have A Rapid Heartbeat
The reason why the human heart rate picks up when we are overheating is because the stress placed on the body causes it to work into overdrive to cool off. If your baby has a rapid heart beat or rapid breathing, try to cool them off as possible (undress them, take them to an air-conditioned room, etc) and keep them hydrated, per Baby Center.
4. They Have A Fever But Aren't Sweating
Normal temperature for a baby is about 97.5 degrees, explains Dr. Aragona. “Anything over and above 100.4 degrees is when your baby is overheating or has a fever,” he says. If your baby has a temperature of 103 degrees or higher but isn't sweating, they may be in heatstroke territory and you’ll want to call 911.
5. They're Lethargic Or Unresponsive
Another sign of overheating is lethargy, which can present in babies as crankiness, or unresponsiveness, according to pediatrician Dr. Daniel Ganjian, M.D.. If your baby isn't responding to your touch or tickles or seems less animated than usual, be sure to check their temperature and cool them off immediately. “Give your child plenty of fluids, a lukewarm bath, and call your pediatrician,” Dr. Ganjian advises.
6. They Vomit
The American Academy of Pediatrics identifies nausea and vomiting as signs of heatstroke as well. Although it may be hard to tell if your baby is nauseous, if they're vomiting and aren't sick otherwise, overheating may be the source. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seeking medical help right away for heat-related vomiting.
7. They Seem Dizzy Or Confused
Similar to lethargy, someone who is overheating will seem disoriented and likely faint. If outside, Dr. Ganjian recommends bringing baby into a shaded area or a cool room, removing layers, and giving them cool water (or breast milk if they are not taking water yet) to help them cool off quickly. Babies can’t exactly say it’s too hot outside for them, so Dr. Ganjian says, “The rule of thumb is if you are not comfortable outside, then neither is your child.”
Giuseppe Aragona, M.D., family doctor at PrescriptionDoctor.com
Daniel Ganjian, M.D., pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California
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