With all this hot weather at the moment and more to come over the summer keeping babies cool is a high priority. Unlike us grown ups babies cannot regulate their tempreture so knowing how to keep babies cool is an essential.
There is a horrible saying that is quite to the point and may help you get things with heat into perspective – Cold babies cry, hot babies die.
I am no expert but here are a few hints and tips for keeping babies cool that I have learnt along the way.
- Never ever leave babies in a car – this is especially important in hot weather. Stationary cars are like greenhouses with all that glass and heat up amazingly quickly. The heat inside the car can easily rise above the critical 26°C/80°F. If this happens the situation with the baby can escalate rapidly, they can quickly become dehydrated, suffer heat stroke, become lethargic and unresponsive and in the worse case senarios suffer brain damage and even death.
- Never cover your prams – with a blanket/scarf/muslin or any other alternative to this. Although you may think you are protecting baby from the sun it can be extremely dangerous. A study found that the tempreture under a blanket can soar very quickly causing baby to overheat. Use a proper pram sun shade or umbrella, and always ensuring there is a good flow of air around the baby.
- Don’t overdress baby – yes they need to be dressed but as they cannot regulate their tempreture they can overheat quickly. If they are indoors there is nothing wrong with just wearing a nappy. When out and about dress them in light airy clothes.
- Don’t leave babies in the sun – not only can babies burn extra quickly in the sun but they can also overheat rapidly too. The most dangerous times are between 11am and 3pm, but still be careful at other times.
- Breastfeed/bottle feed baby more ofter – in hot weather we all get thirstier and babies are no exception. Breastfeed on demand and expect there to be more feeds. The same goes for bottle feeding, feed on demand and expect more feeds. If you are breastfeeding babies do not need water as your breastmilk adapts and gives baby exactly what they need. If bottle feeding there are some exceptions when you can give a baby a tiny amount of cooled boiled water but this is only 2-3oz and should only be given between feeds and never to replace a feed. Giving young babies water can be dangerous and can cause water intoxication so please consult your doctor/midwife/health visitor first!
- Keep babies sleeping areas cool. There are several ways of doing this and here are a few that I have found useful:
- Fan – a fan can be brilliant at moving the air around giving a cooling effect. To increase the cooling put a bowl of ice in front of and behind the fan to help blow colder air around the room. Do not have the fan directly on the baby.
- Wet blankets – soak blankets or muslin squares with cold water then hang in the room, the cold water evaporates and helps to cool the room.
- Loft hatch – open your loft hatches so that heat can escape upwards more easily.
- Blackout/thermal blinds – keep them closed during the day to stop the sun heating the room too much. In the evening open the blinds to let out any heat that has built up.
- Window Open – leave windows and doors open to get a flow of air through the room.
- Illness – If babies tempreture is due to illness give infant oral suspension paracetamol as per the instructions on the packet and seek medical advice where necessary.
- Stay in the shade – keep babies in shaded areas which are far cooler and also protect the baby from those nasty Sun rays.
- Paddling Pools – have a dip in the pool to cool babies down. Things to remember; use one that has a built in sun shade or have it set up in a shaded area, never leave your little ones unattended and ensure you watch out for them getting too cold.
- Cool bath before bedtime – after a hot day there is nothing more cooling and relaxing then a cool bath. Cool baths are great at relieving clamminess and calming babies down to settle them for bed. Don’t leave them in too long though as you don’t want them getting too cold.
- Use a room thermometer – this is invaluable, you instantly have a clear picture of the tempreture and know if you need to take action. We use a Gro Egg and love it, it uses simple colour coding system and comes with a guide on what to dress baby in for the tempreture.
More information on keeping babies cool can be found on the NHS Site.
As at any time, you should keep checking on babies on a regular basis and never leave them unattended in situations that could put them in danager.
Hopefully some of these ideas will cool your little one. If you have any great tips please fill free to share!