I love when spring weather creeps in and temperatures settle in the 70s, a cool breeze still in the air. I could leave it at that — I don't need the ultra hot, sweat-dripping-between-my-boobs temps that come with summer. If you have an infant, then they probably feel a lot of the same (minus the boobs part) and that's because hot temperatures aren't exactly suitable for them. But how hot is too hot for a baby outside? Turns out, there are a few good rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Dr. Jan Montague, director of pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York, told Fit Pregnancy and Baby that it's best to avoid high temps as much as possible. "It is not OK to take a newborn or any infant outside when it's very hot — over 80 degrees or so," she said. "Babies cannot sweat, which is your body's way of cooling itself off, so they can often suffer heat stroke much quicker than an older child or adult."
Keep in mind that it's also easy for infants (children under 6 months) to become dehydrated because they aren't drinking water regularly, according to What To Expect. As a result, the site recommended you stay on schedule with breast milk or formula, and talk to your doctor about other solutions if you live in a particularly hot climate. Your infant might need something like Pedialyte to replenish lost vitamins.
If you do venture outdoors in warm temperatures, then you'll want to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. According to Parents, red flags include sleepiness, irritability, thirst, less elasticity in the skin, eyes and fontanel (or soft spot on head) appear sunken, decrease or absence of tears, dry mouth, and/or decrease number of wet diapers.
You may also notice signs of heat exhaustion. A little one who is unusually thirsty or tired or has skin that is cool and moist could be dealing with heat exhaustion, according to BabyCenter. It could also progress into heat stroke, which the website noted includes the following symptoms: A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher, a rapid pulse, restlessness, confusion, vomiting, and/or lethargy.
"Removing the baby from the heat is the best way to protect them," Dr. Marnie Baker, a pediatrician at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, tells Romper in an email interview. "Parents can also take a washcloth, soaked in cool water, and apply it on their baby’s skin, and then fan them with the washcloth. This is a highly effective method to cool them down, without using a dangerous cold water submersion or topical alcohol wipes, which can rapidly cause shifts in body temperature that are not safe."
Wendy Kirwan, the director of public relations for Kars4Kids, tells Romper in an email interview that hot weather means parents should also take special precautions when traveling in a vehicle with a little one.
"When it’s not too hot for babies outdoors, it can quickly reach lethal levels of heat inside a car," Kirwan says, adding that at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, a child's internal organs begin to shut down. "Every 10 to 20 minutes, the internal temperature of the car rises 20 degrees."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open. Be sure to also check that everyone is out of the car each time you leave your vehicle.
And even if you are indoors, you'll want to make sure you dress your infant in loose, lightweight clothing during the summer months. Garments made from a natural fiber like cotton are ideal, according to Parents, and you can use yourself as a guide for how to dress your baby. "Dress the baby the way you're dressed," Dr. Bruce Epstein, a pediatrician in Pinellas Park, Florida, told the magazine. "If you're wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for her too." Because high temperatures call for everyone staying cool — baby included.
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