Summer is here, and that means it's time to put away your baby's coats and booties and pull out the rompers, shorts, and sunblock. And while it's nice not having to worry about keeping your baby warm, the summer brings a whole new set of worries for parents to ponder. From avoiding ticks and bee stings to purchasing the right sunscreen, a mom's work is never done. So, how do you keep babies cool in the summer? And, perhaps just as importantly, are the ways do so that won't increase the amount of "stuff" us parents have to haul around?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), keeping your baby cool, safe, and healthy in the summer heat can be a challenge, but it's also important. Babies can easily get overheated, and their skin is more sensitive and prone to sunburns. To make things more complicated, the AAP does not recommend sunblock for babies under 6 months of age, so to keep them cool it's best to find some shade or keep your baby inside, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the day is hottest and the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest.
At nighttime, What to Expect suggests that you keep your baby's room relatively cool — between 68 and 72 degrees — all year round. If you need some help cooling things down, a fan is a great addition to your baby's nursery and, according to one study published in the journal Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, can reduce their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 72 percent.
For more about these and other tips on how to keep your baby safe and cool in the summer sun and heat, read on.
Time Things Right
The summer can be pretty miserable for babies, resulting in overheating, heat rash, and sunburns. If you do take your baby outside, the AAP recommends that you avoid the hottest time of day, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their highest.
Keep Them Indoors
As things heat up outside, it's best to keep your house pretty cool for your baby — between 68 and 72 degrees — according to What to Expect. This is especially important when they are sleeping, as babies can overheat easily and being too warm can increase their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the AAP.
Dress Them For The Weather
As pediatrician Bruce Epstein, M.D. told Parents, while it may seem counter-intuitive it's actually better to cover more area of skin with long pants and long sleeves in the summertime, than it is to let your baby run around in just a diaper. More coverage will protect their skin from the sun. The AAP recommends that you dress your baby in natural fibers, like cotton, and a hat to protect their tiny faces and bright eyes from the summer sun.
Get A Fan
If you have trouble keeping your baby's nursery cool in the summer, you might want to try a fan. In fact one study by researchers from Kaiser Permanente found that adding a fan can also reduce their risk of SIDS by 72 percent.
Stay In The Shade
The AAP does not recommend sunblock for babies under 6 months. Instead, they suggest finding some shade and staying there to keep your baby cool and safe from sunburn and overheating. And while stroller canopies and umbrellas help, the AAP warns that they might only reduce UV rays by 50 percent.
As BabyCenter reports, babies are at risk of overheating because they have trouble regulating their body temperature. They also tend to not drink enough fluids to replace those lost by sweat. The same site recommends that you regularly offer fluids, like formula or breast milk, to babies under 6 months of age, or water for babies over 6 months of age, to help ensure that they stay hydrated in the heat.
Make A Splash
One of the most fun ways to beat the heat is to get wet at the pool, sprayground, or in your backyard. The AAP advises that you remember to re-apply sunblock often and use more than you think you need. Or, if you have a sprinkler or kiddie pool at home, you can put it in the shade.