I don't know what I would have done without a stroller when I had babies. My stroller was my co-parent, my shopping partner, my coffee holder. Once or twice it was almost the scene of a crime, since my son had nimble fingers and a penchant for shoplifting, but I caught on to him. If I could put my teenagers in strollers at this point, I would totally do it. But when can strollers become dangerous in the summer? A new report from Sweden is cautioning parents to avoid making this common mistake.
According to the report by Svante Norgren, a pediatrician at the Astrid Lindgren Child's Hospital in Stockholm, draping any sort of blanket over a baby's stroller in these hot summer months could be potentially dangerous. While many parents like to try to shield their baby from the sun this way, especially since babies under the age of six months can't wear sunscreen, it actually raises the temperature inside the stroller instead of cooling them down as intended. Even a thin cotton blanket can create bad air circulation and make your baby uncomfortably hot, or potentially even dehydrated. Norgren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet; “It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos.”
Canadian pediatrician Ann Rowan-Legg agreed with Norgren. Rown-Legg, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and assistant professor in the pediatric department of the University of Ottawa, told Today's Parent;
Temperatures can rise quite quickly in a confined covered space, just like in a car. Babies and young children are more vulnerable to the heat than older children and adults.
So how does one keep their baby cool this summer? Today's Parent magazine offers these guidelines:
- Instead of a blanket, use a large canopy, or a mesh or perforated sun shield designed for strollers. These will keep baby shaded while ensuring adequate airflow.
- Dress baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Give your baby more fluids than usual, to keep him hydrated.
- Avoid peak hours and stick to the shade as much as possible.
- Check on little ones often, feeling their skin to ensure they’re cool.
It can be tough trying to find ways to keep babies cool, and they basically turn into Velociraptors when they get too hot, so there's that. If you don't have AC, the mall does (also there are many new fall fashions available so you can even get in a little window shopping). And don't forget cafes and restaurants.
There are plenty of ways to keep your baby cool that don't involve blankets over their strollers. And luckily for you, a few of them even involve shopping. Two birds, one stone.