Ways to Keep Your Baby Cool in Hot Weather
There is no official temperature that makes taking a newborn outside dangerous. Instead, you must use common sense and pay attention to cues from your baby that indicate he may be too hot. As a rule, it is best to limit the amount of time your taking a newborn outside during the hottest part of the day during hot weather. You should also make it a point to protect your child from the sun. Babies do not sweat as efficiently as older children and adults, so it is easier for them to get too hot.
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 and 4. You should make an effort to limit taking your newborn outside dangerous during this time. If you do have to be outside during the hottest part of the day, try to find shade and protect your child with a sun hat.
Don’t just dive into spending time in hot weather. Initially, spend just a few minutes outside, gradually increasing the amount of time your baby is out in hot weather. This helps him acclimate to the heat. Even taking this precaution, it is important to limit taking a newborn outside to periods when it is necessary.
If you do need to be outside for extended periods of time it is important to take regular breaks inside to let your baby cool down.
What Temperatures Should Cause Concern?
Each baby is different and will handle the heat in their own way. Experts generally recommend caution when taking a newborn outside when the temperature reaches 90 degrees, and extreme caution if the temperature approaches 100. Temperatures in the mid-80s can be harmful if the humidity level is high, as this interferes with your baby’s ability to cool off.
One thing to keep in mind, if you are uncomfortably warm, taking your newborn outside should be done with caution. Your baby will more than likely be uncomfortable as well, and he is less capable of cooling himself.
Protecting Your Baby While Outside
If taking your newborn outside during hot weather is unavoidable, there are things you can do to keep him comfortable. Use a canopy with your car seat and stroller. The sun protection can really help keep your baby cool. Do not try to protect your baby from the sun by putting a cloth over the carrier. This will interfere with airflow, and do more harm than good.
Dress your baby in lightweight, loose-fitting breathable clothing. Light colors will keep your baby cooler than dark ones. Don’t forget the brimmed hat, which does a great job of protecting your baby’s head, face, and neck.
Your baby’s delicate skin is very susceptible to sun damage. It can take as little as 15 minutes of exposure to the sun to burn delicate skin, even if you’re just swimming with your baby. Sunscreen is not generally recommended in children under 6 months of age, but if sun exposure is unavoidable, applying a small amount to the cheeks, nose, tops of ears and other exposed areas is generally fine.
To minimize the likelihood of a reaction when taking your newborn outside, use a chemical-free sunscreen that uses a physical barrier, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, for protection. If you are applying sunscreen, it needs to go on 30 minutes before exposure and will need to be reapplied every 2 hours.
Your baby’s small size can make it easy for her to get dehydrated on a hot day. If she isn’t wetting as many diapers as normal, she may be dehydrated. Other warning signs of dehydration include lethargy, crying with few or no tears, and a dry, sticky mouth. Babies under 6 months of age generally do not require supplemental drinks, but if you live in or are visiting a hot climate and you will be taking your newborn outside, you should discuss the issue with your pediatrician. He may recommend offering sips of water or a rehydrating solution.
Dehydration can be a medical emergency. If symptoms of dehydration do not go away once you offer fluids, or symptoms seem severe, or the soft spot on her head is sinking in, she needs medical care.
Signs Your Baby Is Too Hot
when taking your newborn outside, it is important to be on the lookout for signs your baby is too hot. Heat exhaustion is a serious condition that can have long term effects. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Lack of energy
- Extremely warm to the touch
- Excessive sweating
- Seemingly unquenchable thirst
If you believe your baby is experiencing heat exhaustion, she needs to get to a cool place immediately. Remove her clothes and sponge her off with cool, not cold, water. If she is old enough to drink water, allow her to take small sips. If she is under 6 months old, offer her a bottle or allow her to nurse. If she doesn’t seem to feel better quickly, you need to contact her healthcare provider.
Heatstroke can develop from heat exhaustion and can cause brain damage, organ failure, and even death. When someone is suffering from heatstroke their body has entirely lost its ability to cool itself.
Signs of heat stroke include a sudden cessation of sweating, clammy, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and breathing, low amounts of dark-colored urine, being floppy or sleepy, confusion, developing shortness of breath, vomiting, and becoming unresponsive.
For further reading, check out our article on signs your baby has a heat rash.
It is important never to leave your baby unattended in the car and even more so in the summer weather. With even a little sunshine, your car will become like an oven. The temperature inside can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Combine that with the fact that a small child’s body temperature rises much quicker than adults, and it is easy to see how tragedy can develop.