When the UK is experiencing a heatwave and you find yourself constantly overheating, you can imagine it’s just as bad for your little ones. Obviously babies don’t have the ability to let us know when they’re too hot, so during a spell of hot weather, it’s important for parents to create an environment where babies can keep cool during the day.
Don’t cover the pram with a blanket.
Parents might think that draping a blanket over the pram with their baby in will keep them out of direct sunlight and cool from the rays, but they’re wrong. Last year, Svante Norgren, who works at a children’s hospital in Stockholm, said covering a pram with anything, including a thin muslin cloth, creates a furnace-like heat.
In an experiment, she said without a cover, the pram temperate reached 22C. With a thin cover over it for 30 minutes, the pram temperature rose to 34C.
Dr Hamed Khan, an emergency department doctor at St George’s hospital told HuffPost UK: “Children in such situations are at risk of dehydration, especially if they are subjected to such high temperatures for a long period of time. You should not excessively cover a pram, but of course it also depends on the individual situation, the weather, and the extent of the cover.”
Make sure they are well hydrated.
Dr Khan says he advises his patients to keep a very close eye on their babies during hot weather and make sure that they are being given ample water and other fluids. For babies, he added: “Keeping a close eye, checking up on them regularly, and making sure that they are well hydrated is extremely important.”
Keep your baby in the shade.
It’s a lovely idea to head out and enjoy the weather with your little one, but try to stay in the shade as much as possible. The National Childbirth Trust’s (NCT) parent content editor Sanjima DeZoysa, advised this is especially important if your baby is younger than six months. “It’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight, especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is strongest,” she added. “If you are out, try and create shade yourself.”
Use light clothing.
DeZoysa says it’s best to cover your baby’s body, arms and legs with loose clothing. “Lightweight, natural material, such as cotton, offers the best protection,” she said. “Shoulders are particularly vulnerable and burn quickly so tops that cover your baby’s shoulders are most suitable.”
If you’re heading to the beach for the day, she said sun protection tops and suits made of Lycra, or a mix of Lycra and nylon, are perfect as they block more of the sun than normal T-shirts.
Use blackout blinds in their room.
Paediatrician Dr Keir Shiels said keeping the baby’s room is cool will create a welcoming environment for them and also ensure they are likely to sleep during the hot weather. He advises using blackout blinds, as these fabrics offer cooling effects through their thermal insulation keeping the room cooler and dark. These can be picked up in department stores, online (such as here) or in store such as IKEA.
Use a fan and frozen water.
Dr Shiels also said a way to instantly keep the room cool for a baby is to use a fan with a frozen bottle of water in front. This ensures that hot air isn’t being blown around the room. As the bottle gets warmer, the cooling effect will be diminished, but it’s a good, short-term solution.
Do you have any tips and trick on keeping babies cool in the heat? Let us know in the comments below!