10 Ways to Stay Cool and Beat the Heat with a New Baby
The beautiful hot weather is here, and it is the season for picnics and beach trips. Babies and young children can’t cool themselves as well as adults so they’re more at risk of overheating.
Sunshine and soaring temperatures are two factors that mums and dads must be extra-vigilant with during the summer months. With the heat leaving our little ones feeling irritable, uncomfortable and in extreme circumstances, susceptible to dehydration.
There are a few simple tips that parents can try to alleviate a warm baby – from keeping the house cool to investing in the right bedding and sleeping options to help babies sleep.
Here are a few top tips to keep baby cool and safe in the New Zealand summer heat.
- Water Activities
Water play is such a fun way to keep babies and toddlers cool. There are some fun water games for toddlers that are educational and make learning fun. Paddling pools are a must have; they have so much fun kicking about in the water and it's the best way to cool down quickly. Some of our favourite water play activities are freezing toys in plastic containers and letting them break/suck/melt the ice. Water play with buckets, colouring and an assortment of goodies out of the kitchen cupboards; and chopping up pieces of sponge can be a great easy activity too. You can even use these to ‘paint with water’.
- Select the Right Clothing
To help keep little ones cool, dress them in light, loose clothing. You can also protect them from the sun with a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies less than six months of age so it’s best to stay in the shade with very young ones. Sunglasses for your little one can protect their eyes and reduce glare. It’s great to get them used to wearing hats and sunglasses from a young age.
A baby formula sunscreen can be used on babies over 6 months old to protect them from the sun. Pick a broad-spectrum baby safe sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously to your baby’s exposed skin. Reapply every two hours, or more often if your baby is spending time in the water.
- While Bottle or Breastfeeding
It’s so hot having baby skin to skin and a cold towel between you and baby can help to keep the body temperature down. Placing a cool thin flannel over the back of baby’s head can also help in the heat when feeding.
- Cold Food
Babies who are on solids can be served their food cold. Pureed foods like pumpkin, pear and kumara are delicious served at a cooler temperature. For babies that are on finger foods, watermelon straight from the fridge can help them feel cooler in the summer heat.
- While in the Pram
Don’t place any cover or blanket over prams (only shade covers designed for the strollers), as this can over-heat the inside of the pram. Choose morning or afternoon walks when the air is cooler or use a large canopy designed for prams to ensure adequate airflow.
- Cool Bath
A tepid bath before bedtime is often beneficial if baby is feeling hot to the touch.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Keeping little ones well hydrated can help keep them comfortable in the heat. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, keep your newborn hydrated. Monitor how many wet nappies your baby is having to make sure your newborn is properly hydrated. This goes without saying, but make sure YOU are staying hydrated as well. If you are breastfeeding, your supply can drop if you are not drinking enough fluids, especially in really hot temperatures.
- Seek Out Shade
When you arrive at the beach or park, look for a protected spot, such as under a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy. A handy item to take to the shore is a tent made of fabric treated to block the sun's harmful rays. Make sure it has see-through mesh sides for proper ventilation and check the UV ratings on shade tents.
- Don’t Leave Babies or Children in Cars
Never leave babies, children, or pets alone in a car. Babies and children can overheat very quickly in cars. Never cover a baby capsule in the car with a blanket, towel, or baby wrap as this will restrict air moving around the baby, making them hotter. Use sunshades on windows instead. When planning a longer car journey, try to travel in the cooler hours of the day.
Once you have the little ones all taken care of, ensure that you too are staying cool with some stylish and affordable maternity and nursing wear during the summer months.
You can find more helpful sun safety information at https://www.plunket.org.nz/caring-for-your-child/safety-outdoors/sun-safety/