Should I take my baby outside?
It’s inevitable, you’re either going to have to, or really want to take baby outside. No matter how old baby is, you can take them outside. It’s just important to take baby outside safely. Check out the tips below that will help you make it a successful endeavor in hot or cold weather.
Now that you know it’s perfectly normal and safe to take your baby outside, you probably have a whole new set of questions about baby safety. Issues that frequently come up regarding taking baby outside safely include bugs, sunburn, wind, strangers, germs, etc. You’re not alone in your thoughts and concerns. Below is a list of tips to help you strategize how to take your baby outside in hot or cold weather. The tips can be modified to fit your specific needs. And, always remember that parents often know what is right or wrong for their child.
1. Talk to Your Pediatrician
Most babies are free to go outside with a little preparation from Mom and Dad. But, if your baby struggles with allergies, respiratory issues, or other health concerns, you may want to consult with your pediatrician first.
2. Pack a Diaper Bag
When taking baby outside, it’s important to have a diaper bag. But, when you’re going outside, you need to pack an extra special diaper bag. Even if you’re nursing, it’s imperative that you pack carefully to make sure baby is comfortable during the entire trip.
You’ll want to include diapers, burp cloths, diaper rash cream, a change of clothing, bottles, formula, milk, sunscreen, bug spray, extra blankets and extra water. Depending on the weather or chance of rain, you’ll also want to pack a light sweater, sun hat, rain jacket, and umbrella.
3. Create Personal Space for Your Baby
When you’re taking baby outside, people will take notice. To increase safety, it’s a good idea to create personal space for your and the baby. One way to do this is to keep baby in a stroller or carrier when you aren’t holding them. If you sit down to play in the grass or at the beach, use a blanket to create a space that is safe for you to enjoy.
Older babies and toddlers will enjoy running around a little bit. But younger babies will tire quickly and may need to be carried. Baby carriers and baby wraps are great for babies that like to be swaddled when carried.
4. Start Small
If your taking baby outside for the first time, it’s important to make the trip relatively short. Take a stroll to the local park, sit for a few minutes and make your way back home. Slowly build up to longer outings before undertaking a long excursion in the future. Doing this will help you determine if there is anything you need to pack in your bag for the next trip. If you forgot something and it’s a short trip, you’ll be able to decrease the impact by shortening your trip.
5. Babies and Car Seats
If you have to take baby outside in the cold, you need to make sure you follow proper guidelines for safe car seat use. Professionals recommend taking baby’s jacket off before putting them in their car seat. Doing this ensures the straps fit the baby properly. If you’re worried about baby being cold, simply dress the baby in one layer more than you need.
Babies have similar temperatures to adults, so if you are comfortable, they are likely comfortable too. The same goes if you are cold. You can put a hat on the baby or cover them with a blanket if you are worried that they will be too cold. When you arrive to your destination and you are taking baby outside in the cold, it’s important to put their jacket back on.
6. Avoid Crowded Places
Whether it’s flu season or not, you may want to avoid taking baby outside in crowded spaces. Adults and older children can handle crowded places with little or no risk, but crowded places for babies isn’t recommended because of the risk of germ exposure. Plus, in crowded places, babies can feel stressed out, which can make Mom and Dad a bit stressed too.
Strangers also have a tendency to want to touch or even kiss little babies. While that’s incredibly cute and most grown-ups have good intentions associated with this behavior, but it’s also the perfect way for babies to be exposed to germs that could make them sick.
7. Wash Your Hands/Use Sanitizer
Outside the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and people are enjoying the outdoors. However, there’s also dirt, grime, germs you can’t see, and so much more too. When taking baby outside, it’s important to wash your hands and babies hands as often as needed. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use anti-bacterial sanitizer. Because babies skin is very sensitive, it’s best to use sanitizer sparingly and only when necessary. It’s also best to use regular sanitizer with no extra ingredients or added scent.
8. Use a Snow Suit in Cold Weather
If the ground is covered with snow, there’s no reason to avoid taking baby outside. Instead, invest in a snow suit and winter boots and teach your kids how to catch snowflakes with their tongue. Since babies and toddlers grow so quickly, it’s a good idea to look for snow suits at consignment shops or buy them from a friend second hand. Winters don’t last very long, so you want to be ready to take your kids out in the snow before it’s gone.
9. Keeping Bugs Away
Because there are so many types of bug spray on the market, it’s important to read the labels of these products carefully before choosing one that you plan to use on baby. The best bug sprays for young children will say something like “for the whole family.” Bug spray is important when taking baby outside because mosquito bites, bee stings, and ticks are all things parents don’t want to deal with and can have negative effects on baby too.
If you aren’t sure whether the bug spray is safe to use, don’t use it, especially on young babies. Most pediatricians don’t recommend using bug spray for babies younger than two months. For those babies, it’s a good idea to use mosquito netting to keep bugs away.
10. Stay Inside During the Hottest Part of the Day
During the dog days of the summer, it’s best to stay inside during the hottest parts of the day. Usually, this falls between noon and 3PM. Instead, adjust your schedule so you’re taking baby outside early in the AM or later in the afternoon.
If there is no way to avoid taking baby outside during the hottest part of the day, it’s imperative to keep baby as cool as possible. Use a wide brimmed hat and bring lots of water with you. If you find yourself or baby getting overheated, you should seek shade or air conditioning until you or baby feel better.
With these tips, you’ve probably had most of your questions or concerns answered about taking baby outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time or the 100th time, you’ve take your baby outside, if you have questions or need a little reassurance about a particular issue, it’s always okay to ask questions and get advice from other Moms and Dads too.