How to keep Baby Cool
Are you wondering how to keep baby cool? With temperatures reaching an unprecedented 40 degrees in London last Summer, UK mums are now anxiously anticipating another year of sweltering heat. Dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn are very real dangers with overheating a significant risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). So how do we keep our babies cool?
To say we are unprepared in this country is an understatement so The Daily Mumtra took to social media to glean some advice from mums who live in extreme heat – here are their top tips for surviving those high temperatures and keeping baby cool.
Find Shade….indoors and out
“The heat index in TN has been 110-115 F so we are used to these temps. Stay inside and avoid direct sunlight. We tend to stay inside during the hottest part of the day and save outside time for early morning and late evenings. I took the baby on a day trip recently in the carrier but made sure I wore a huge wide brim sunhat to keep us both protected.” Samantha, Tennessee
“Aussie girl here – these temps are our usual – we still don’t like it though. Blackout curtains and blinds are our saviour – we keep them pulled all throughout really hot days to keep the sun out. Keep windows closed by day if the air outside is hotter than inside – you can let the fresh air in during the night. We often sleep downstairs or in the basement where the room temperature is cooler.” Jodie, Melbourne
“Stay in the shade and make sure air is circulating around the baby. Do not cover the baby’s stroller or car sight with a light blanket. Air flow is important and covering them will make them hotter” Erin, Arizona
Feed More, Drink more
The NHS is clear that babies under six months do not need additional water and that all hydration needs are met by breastmilk and formula. Whilst breastfeeding mums will feel relieved at this low fuss solution it also puts them at risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Water and vital nutrients will need to be replenished with plenty of fluids. Shawna says:
“Nurse on demand but make sure you keep your electrolytes up and take on extra water. Eat loads of foods that are high in water ie watermelons and cucumber. If you start to feel crampy drink pickle juice. Gatorade and squenchers are a must” Shawna, Texas
Pickle Juice? High in natural electrolytes Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium, drinking pickle juice is a great way to rebalance the negative impact of heat dehydration.
All those cute outfits you’ve splurged on may need to take a breather. Loose clothing made from breathable materials or indeed no clothing is what is needed in extreme heat to keep body temperature down.
“Take your baby’s lead. If hanging out in a diaper means their skin is getting sweaty with the humidity a loose baby short-sleeved vest or baby grow might be more comfortable.”
Find the AC
Very few homes in the Uk have air conditioning so it may be time to seek it out…
“Head to the mall, public library, drugstore…anywhere that does have AC. If you are really desperate get her (baby) in the car and hang out there.”
Buy Some Fans
They may be cumbersome to store in the winter but with climate change rearing its forboding and these heatwaves are set to make a more regular appearance beyond the hot summer months. A set of fans could be a wise investment. If you can afford, bladeless and silent fans are available but a simple fan will do. Be sure to place the fan and cord well out of baby’s reach and not pointing directly at baby. Rotating mode is best.
” Place a bucket of icy water or a bowl of ice directly in front of the fan to quickly cool the room. You may want to switch bedroom fans on an hour before bedtime too.” Leah, Sydney
Portable handheld fans may also provide some quick relief whilst you are out and about as are stroller fans.
Keeping baby’s room cool is a must on sweltering hot nights. A room thermometer, a low tog sleeping bag (if any is required) and cool cotton sheets for baby’s cot are all worth considering. Waterproof sheets and bedding will retain heat so give these a miss in very hot weather. I also like Leah’s idea of switching fans on in advance of going to sleep.
Breast Milk Ice Pops
“I top up usual milk feeds with Brest milk ice pops – a great way to quickly cool her down and increase fluid intake” Christine, South California
Ice creams and lollies are my absolute favourite daily ritual of the summer holidays and a great way to lift spirits and lower temperatures for my bigger children. Christine’s idea to put breast milk in lolly moulds is absolute genius – particularly for older babies who may be baby led weaning. A word of caution – be sure to dip the ice pop in water or allow to melt a little before handing to baby. This will avoid risk of thermal injury to tiny fingertips and lips.
“I fill a shallow paddling pool with toys – water mills, filling cups , bubbles etc. I do also let the kids play in the water sprinklers and buy water guns for older children (my six month old loves getting caught in the crossfire!). Take a cool bath if needs be just don’t have the water too cold.”
If you are looking for a recommended portable baby bath read my Stokke Flexi Bath review here.
Pimp Your Ride
Whether or not you have AC there are still a few things to make a car journey more comfortable. Be sure to park in a shady spot when possible and buy shades for baby’s window seat to keep the sun off of their face. Open car windows an hour or so before you set off to get the airflow circulating and to avoid stepping into a cauldron of hot air.
“We keep frozen water bottles in a small ice chest when we go places. They can be tossed into the car seat to cool down the buckles before placing the baby in..and they can be used to cool everyone else off if needed.” Erin, Arizona
If like me you live in a big city and are trying to navigate town with a buggy you may want to consider the following:
Damp towels draped around freezer packs to keep cool – place the washcloth around the back of their neck for instant relief or invest in a reusable freezable neck wrap as Courtney suggests “We have used these over the years to keep our older children cool when playing sports – we would keep them in ice coolers and place them around their necks.”Courtney, Florida
“I use cooling gel sheets. These are supposed to be used if you’re trying to bring down a fever but I’ll actually put one on my daughter’s back when it is super hot and we are outside.Helps keep her cool!” Lauren, Loissianna
Bottle insulation bags – keep milk at drinkable temperature in hot weather.
“I carry a water mister in the diaper bag and use to cool off buckles as well as me and baby”
Remember if you have any concerns about the temperature of your baby, or if there are visible signs of dehydration – lack of wet diapers, rapid breathing and loss of responsiveness, seek medical advice asap. Heat-related illness in babies is serious, trust your instincts and get help.
All advice given here is the advice of mums, not medical professionals. Some affiliate links have been included.