British Summer Time has officially begun, and it is fair to say that over the last few days the summer season hasn’t failed to deliver scorching temperatures and a taste of what this summer has in store.
While we adults revel in the summer heat, your babies and young children might not have the same acceptance of the soaring temperatures.
To help, we’ve compiled our top tips to keep your baby cool, happy and healthy and to prevent illnesses during the upcoming hot summer days.
Common hot weather illnesses
When exposed to very hot weather, there are several ways that your baby’s health could suffer, including:
- Heat exhaustion
Babies and young children are at higher risk of the above illnesses during hot weather, so try and follow the below steps to keep them cool and healthy throughout the summer months.
Keep your baby hydrated
Similarly to adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated during hot weather to avoid dehydration. Babies and young children are at a higher risk of dehydration, and if left untreated, it can become a serious problem.
The below tips from 0 – 12 months will help ensure your baby stays hydrated during the summer:
0 – 6 months
- If your baby is being fully breastfed, they will not need any water until they have moved on to eating solid foods. Be aware that during warmer weather, they will likely want to breastfeed more than normal.
- If you are bottle-feeding your baby alongside their normal milk feeds, you could give them a little cooled boiled water. If your baby wakes during their usual night routine, they’ll likely need milk. However, if they have had their usual milk feeds, try giving them cooled boiled water, too.
- For more information, ask your health visitor or any other health professional for ways to keep your baby hydrated during feeds in the summer months.
Around 6 months
- Offer your baby sips of water from a cup or beaker with their meals once they have been introduced to solid foods.
- Ensure that breastmilk or formula remains their main drink during the first year, however, you might need to incorporate additional water outside of these mealtimes during warmer weather.
From 12 months
- Ensure you are giving your baby water, breast milk or whole cows’ milk as their main drinks.
- Frozen lollies made from plain water or highly diluted fruit juice are a good solution to help keep your baby hydrated.
- Older children can be given fruit and salad to keep their fluids topped up.
Keeping your baby cool
There are several ways to keep your baby cool during the summer months, including:
- A lukewarm bath before bedtime.
- Ensuring blinds/curtains are closed during the day in your babies’ bedroom – this will make it cooler and more comfortable for bedtime.
- Keep air circulating in their bedroom using a fan.
- Invest in a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your baby’s room – they will be most comfortable if their room is between 16C – 20C.
- Consider putting your baby in a nappy only, covered with a well-secured cellular blanket.
Sun protection for your baby
There are several ways to ensure your baby is protected from the sun and kept cool throughout the summer, such as:
- Keep babies less than 6 months old out of direct sunlight – this is due to their skin containing very little melanin, which protects them from the sun.
- Ensure older babies are kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly when the sun is at its strongest.
- Attach a sunshade or parasol to your baby’s pushchair to keep them cool and out of direct sunlight. Remember, never cover a buggy or pram with a blanket to create shade as this tramps the heat inside and temperature soars very quickly.
- Make sure to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of a minimum of 30 to your baby’s skin.
- Ensure any sunscreen products you purchase are applied regularly and protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- Look for brands that are specific for babies and young children – these will contain ingredients less likely to irritate their skin.
- Ensure your baby or young child is wearing a sunhat, and that both their neck and head are covered from the sun.
- If your child is in and out of the paddling pool or sea, make sure their sunscreen is reapplied at regular intervals.
We hope you have a happy, healthy and safe summer!
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