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Summer is a time for outdoor adventures, beach trips, and backyard barbecues, but for parents of infants, it can also bring concerns about keeping their little ones comfortable and safe in the heat. Babies are more susceptible to heat-related issues because their bodies aren’t as efficient at regulating temperature as adults. 

To help parents navigate the warmer months, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on how to keep babies cool during the summer.

1. Dress Them Appropriately

Choosing the right clothing for your baby is the first step in ensuring they stay cool. Here are some tips:

  • Lightweight Fabrics: Opt for loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers like cotton, which allow the skin to breathe and facilitate better air circulation.
  • Light Colors: Light-colored clothes reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it, helping to keep your baby cooler.
  • Minimal Layers: Dress your baby in as few layers as possible. A single layer is often enough indoors. If you’re outside, consider a lightweight hat with a wide brim to protect their head and face from direct sunlight. We love this sunhat for babies! 

2. Keep the Environment Cool

Maintaining a cool environment is crucial for your baby’s comfort:

  • Air Conditioning and Fans: If you have air conditioning, use it to keep the indoor temperature comfortable. Fans can also help, but ensure they aren’t blowing directly on the baby.
  • Ventilation: If you have poor or no AC keep windows open during cooler parts of the day (morning and evening) to let in fresh air. Using blackout curtains can help keep rooms cooler by blocking out the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Thermal Insulating curtains such as these, can help keep summer heat out (plus help keep the winter cold out).
  • Cool Sleeping Conditions: At night, use light bedding and a fan to maintain a comfortable sleeping environment. Consider a cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air without raising the temperature.

Pro Tip: If you get a humidifier (which we recommend for any baby/toddler because of how helpful they are during respiratory illness), please get on with a fill-top that is easy to clean! Like this one! Easy-to-clean is a must. 

3. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is vital for babies, especially in hot weather:

  • Breastfeeding: If you’re breastfeeding, nurse more frequently as breast milk provides hydration and essential nutrients. Your body will naturally adjust to producing more milk if needed. 
  • Formula-fed Babies: Offer additional cooled, boiled water between feeds for babies older than six months. For younger infants, consult with your pediatrician before providing extra water.
  • Signs of Dehydration: Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, such as fewer wet diapers, dark yellow urine, dry lips, and lethargy.

4. Smart Outdoor Time

When spending time outside, it’s crucial to protect your baby from direct sunlight and overheating:

  • Time It Right: Avoid going out during the peak heat of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon.
  • Shade: Always keep your baby in the shade. Use umbrellas or canopies if spending time outside where you cannot find natural shade. 
  • Cool Surfaces: Be mindful of hot surfaces like playground equipment, sand, or concrete. These can burn your baby’s skin quickly.

5. Proper Sun Protection

Protecting your baby’s delicate skin from the sun is essential:

  • Sunscreen: For babies older than six months, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if they are in water.
  • Hats and Sunglasses: A wide-brimmed hat provides additional protection for your baby’s face and neck. Baby sunglasses with UV protection can protect their eyes from harmful rays.
  • Choose a Full Swimsuit: If you are going to be swimming, choose a swimsuit that has more coverage. Or, pack a swim shirt that is UV protection that they can wear while in the water. 

6. Monitor for Heat-Related Illness

Despite taking precautions, it’s important to be vigilant for signs of heat-related illness:

  • Heat Rash: Tiny red bumps, often found in skin folds or where clothing fits snugly. Keep the area dry and cool, and dress your baby in loose clothing.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, clammy skin, fatigue, and irritability. Move your baby to a cooler place, offer fluids, and use cool compresses.
  • Heat Stroke: A medical emergency characterized by high body temperature, hot and dry skin, rapid heartbeat, and possibly confusion or unconsciousness. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect heat stroke.

7. Plan Travel Carefully

If you’re traveling during the summer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Car Safety: Never leave your baby in a parked car, even for a few minutes. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly and become dangerously high.
  • Travel Gear: Use simple car window shades, like these ones, to protect your baby in the car for the warm sun beating down on them. Plus, they protect from UV rays. Portable fans can be clipped to strollers to provide additional airflow.

You Got This!

Keeping your baby cool during the summer requires a combination of appropriate clothing, a cool environment, proper hydration, and vigilance. By following these tips, you can help ensure your baby stays comfortable, happy, and healthy throughout the warmer months. Enjoy the summer with peace of mind, knowing you’re equipped to handle the heat safely for your little one.