Summer’s here and so are the holidays, mangoes and of course, the heat!! The sun’s blazing down on us and many of us are heading for the hills to cool off during the vacation. But the rest of us have got to find ways to deal with the heat. And if you have a baby, then you need tips to keep babies cool in summer as well!
Some Moms find summers easier – you don’t need to bother about sweaters or thermals, and kids are relatively more free. But excessive heat can be dangerous for young babies. An infant’s skin is very sensitive, and even a few minutes of direct exposure to strong sunlight can cause sunburn. There are also studies that show that too much sun exposure in infancy increases the chance of skin cancer later in life. Newborns who overheat during summer are also at a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Their bodies are not yet capable of regulating their temperature, which is why they can overheat and get dehydrated easily.
Of course, besides these risks, hot babies also get cranky, giving Mom a hard time! But don’t worry, we have here a list of simple tips to help you keep your baby as cool as a cucumber, even if the sun is at its blazing best!
20 Tips to Keep Babies Cool in Summer
1. Stay Out of the Sun
This is the simplest but most effective tip ever! If you want to avoid sun damage, just stay out of the sun! For babies under six months, it is recommended to stay indoors on hot days altogether, especially during the peak sun from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Considering how hot it is these days, the danger of heat stroke is real, so with young babies, it’s wise not to take that chance.
2. Opt for Light Clothing
One reason babies overheat is because they are overdressed. Go for light, loose cotton clothes without too many strings and buttons. Baby clothes made from organic cotton are available, and are probably better for sensitive infant skin. Avoid fussy clothes like frilly frocks – they’ll only irritate your baby. Pay special attention to bedtime, especially if you’re going to put on the A/C and the temperature is likely to go quite low.
3. Get a Wide Brimmed Hat
For the brief times that your baby will be outside in your garden or even balcony, make sure she is protected with a sun hat. Get one with a wide brim to keep the sun away from her face. One with strings will ensure the hat stays put and that your little one doesn’t toss it away. Also make sure that the hat is made of breathable cotton so that your baby’s head doesn’t get overheated. It should be of a soft material that doesn’t irritate her skin too.
4. Opt for Cloth Nappies
Disposable diapers are more convenient that cloth nappies, but they aren’t very comfortable during the hot summer. Not to mention that they’re not exactly environment friendly! Disposable diapers can be very warm and more likely to cause diaper rash. Cloth nappies help the skin breathe and prevents rashes forming from the wet diaper in a humid climate.
5. Breastfeed on Demand
With summer, babies’ hydration needs increase, although they may not be able to put it into as many words! During hot weather, most babies ask to be fed frequently, and feed for short durations. The reason for this is that they want to drink the thin, watery fore milk, which is more effective at quenching their thirst. This is nature’s plan for ensuring breastfed babies never get thirsty, so breastfeed whenever your baby needs to. For babies under six months, you don’t need anything else, not even water.
6. Try Frozen or Chilled Foods
Frozen breast milk popsicles or fruit slices are great for babies to munch on to stay cool during the hot summer. If your baby is teething, these also offer relief for sore gums. You can also try frozen popsicles made of homemade fruit/vegetable juice, although they can get really messy as they melt! Put a bib on your baby so the freezing liquid doesn’t directly fall on him.
7. Choose Summer Foods
Some foods are naturally cooling – these don’t need to be chilled to be enjoyed! Summer foods include millets like ragi, barley, bajra as well as spices like coriander, fennel, cumin and turmeric. If your baby has started solids, include these ingredients in his food. You can try many recipes with ragi, barley water, barley cereal or bajra moongdal porridge.
8. Be Careful with Massage Oils
Since summer is already a hot and sticky season, you don’t want to make it worse for your baby! Avoid heavy massage oils that can weigh down on your baby’s skin. Instead, opt for lighter oils like olive oil or coconut oil that are easily absorbed into the skin without weighing it down. If it still makes your baby oily and sticky, skip the oils till the weather cools down.
9. Breastfeed Lying Down
Skin to skin contact can be uncomfortable in the hot weather, for both Mama and baby! And if your baby is nursing several times a day, it can drive both of you nuts! One option is to place a cotton sheet between your bodies, so there is less contact. Another option is to lie down and feed, so only your breast and the baby’s mouth are touching.
10. Sponge Down with Water
A great way to cool baby down in summer is to offer sponge baths from time to time. Use plain water without soap to avoid stripping baby’s skin of natural moisturizing oils. Use lukewarm to cool water, and just sponge off; don’t drench baby in it. On a really hot day, you might need to do this a few times a day; watch your baby for cues.
11. Sleep in the Coolest Part of the House
During the day, put baby’s crib or bassinet in the coolest part of the house, away from direct sunlight through the windows or door. You might have to shift her as the sun’s position changes, but identifying these areas in advance will help you arrange your baby’s sleeping gear accordingly.
12. Cool the Area Around the Crib
This is India, which means that there’s no guarantee of power all the time! If your fan or A/C isn’t working, you can still help your baby stay cool. Place frozen bottles of water or towels or sheets soaked in ice cold water around the room your baby’s sleeping in. It will cool the air around and offer some respite from the heat.
13. Use Cotton Sheets
Make sure your baby’s bedding is completely simple and no-fuss in summer. Use 100% soft cotton sheets, and avoid all other extras like bolsters. Use a thin muslin sheet or summer quilt that is light enough for the day. Avoid waterproof or synthetic mattress protectors, since they tend to heat the baby’s body more and makes him uncomfortable too.
14. Use Window Shades
Even if your car is fully air conditioned, harsh sunlight can get in through the window glass and burn your baby. Use window shades or protectors on the windows to ensure your baby is safe from the sun. You also need to follow this at home, by closing the curtains or blinds on windows which directly face the sun.
15. Ensure Good Ventilation
One problem with the summer is the stuffy feeling in addition to the humidity. This a sure-fire way to make your baby cranky in summer! To avoid this, ensure there is good ventilation in your home. Open up blocked ventilators and windows. Fans help air circulate, so they might be more effect than an A/C in getting rid of the stuffiness. If you’re at a relative’s house, being in a well-ventilated room will help your baby be more comfortable too.
16. Opt for Air Conditioned Spaces
When you’re out and about with your baby, plan your day so that you’re in air conditioned places. The park or flea market may not be good ideas in summer! Instead, opt for the mall, library, supermarket, museum or similar places that are more likely to be air conditioned and cool.
17. Get an Inflatable Pool
Most babies love splashing around in water, and summer is the perfect season for it! Get baby an inflatable pool or a tub, and let her enjoy playing in the water. Get her some bath toys too, so that she can get creative with them. This works better than a sponge bath on an exceptionally hot day. If you have a big pool, you can get in too!
18. Buy a Car Seat Cover
Cars can get very hot in summer. If you use a car seat for your baby, it can heat up too inside the car, especially metal parts like buckles which can burn if touched. Avoid this by using a heat proof car seat cover which protects the seat from the harsh sun so that your baby stays safe.
19. Try Intelligent Baby Wearing
Baby wearing is meant to encourage skin to skin contact, but it might be a little too sticky and sweaty for summer! But you can still keep your baby close – just choose the right baby carrier. A light fabric like cotton will ensure that both Mom’s and baby’s skin can breathe. Go for a sling that doesn’t have too many layers or synthetic parts, but is still sturdy and secure.
20. Use a Stroller Fan
When you’re outside, you can keep baby cool with his very own fan! A clip-on stroller fan is a great idea since you can just attach it to your baby’s stroller and let it cool your baby as you move. This fan is completely portable and is an excellent idea for travelling with your baby in summer!
Things to Remember
- Avoid giving water to babies under 6 months
- Never leave a baby alone in a car, even for a minute, even with the windows open
- Keep baby away from fans, cords and switches
- Never bathe baby in cold water
- Don’t point the fan or A/C vent directly at the baby
- Don’t let the A/C temperature get below 24 degrees, especially at night
- Don’t take baby to an A/C room right after his bath
- Don’t leave babies or young children near an open window
- Never leave a baby alone in a bath or tub, even for a minute, no matter how little water is in it
- Always put sunscreen when stepping out of the house
So you see, with these tips to keep babies cool in summer, it is possible to keep your baby cool and comfortable even on the hottest day! Tell us, which of these are you sure to try out this summer?