With summer officially here and temperatures across the country set to rise this week, here’s how to make sure you keep baby cool in the hot weather this summer.
Babies don’t have the ability to let us know when they’re too hot or too cold, which means they’re at risk of overheating. In warmer temperatures, it’s important to keep an eye on them to ensure they’re comfortable and content. Here are some top tips to keep baby cool in the warm weather this summer.
We spoke to Michelle Smith, Registered Sleep Specialist at Owlet, who reveals how to get your baby’s environment just right for the perfect slumber.
How to Help Baby Sleep in Hot Weather
Use the Sunlight
The sun is an underutilised resource for free sleep learning at any age. The sun gives you cortisol for daytime energy or melatonin for night time sleepiness. Sunshine has also been proven to improve mental health and can lower risks for postnatal depression.
Up to 12 weeks of age, your baby should be napping in normal daylight. This will help them develop their circadian rhythm; their biological clock helps them to know the difference between night and day.
After 12 weeks, they begin to be more alert to their surroundings and can easily be distracted during nap time so making the room as dark as possible will help them nap longer and feel more refreshed. But no matter their age, having the room as dark as possible will help them understand that it’s night and prepare them for their longest stretch of sleep!
Help Distinguish Night and Day
Noise can be another tool to help establish your baby’s circadian rhythm! Using normal daytime noise during nap time up to 12 weeks and help your baby distinguish the difference between night and day. They will hear and know that day time is the time for playing and socialising, but then using a sound machine at night will help them recognize that it’s time for rest.
Introduce a sound machine during naps after 12 weeks when you also start to darken their room. Using a sound machine at night can help you sleep better too!
Use Light Layers
The Lullaby Trust recommends your baby’s room temperature to be between 16-20°C. Using light layers for your baby will help them stay snuggly warm while also breathing fresh and cooler temperatures that will help keep them cosy and ready for a good night’s sleep.
With an Owlet Cam, you can track the temperature in your baby’s personal sleep space as sometimes their room or sleep area might be different from yours. This will help guide you to an ideal sleep environment.
Use a Humidifier
The recommended humidity level should be between 40-50%, but the reality is that it can be difficult to control depending on your climate and the time of year. If you live in a lower humidity climate, consider adding a humidifier to your baby’s room.
Using a humidifier will not only help their skin, but it can also help their lungs and their nose. Babies are obligatory nose breathers, which means even if they have a stuffy nose they still typically will breathe through their stuffy nose. Humidity can help break up their congestion and help them breathe a little bit easier.
How to Keep Your Baby Cool in Hot Weather
Keep Baby Hydrated
Like adults, babies need to stay hydrated in the hot weather. If you’re breastfeeding, there’s no need to give them water, but you may want to feed more than usual but for shorter periods.
However, if bottle feeding, you can give them cooled boiled water throughout the day. And, if over six months, then you can be a little more creative to keep baby cool. Very diluted fruit juice in a free-flow cup, ice cubes and homemade fruit ice lollies should all do the trick.
Stay out of the Sun
Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight; seek shade where possible, especially between 11am and 3pm where the sun is strongest.
Many pushchairs have SPF-protected canopies or fittings for a sun parasol, so you can still stay protected when on the move. Also, if you’re parking your car, try to leave it in a shady spot – cars can heat up very quickly, which is never pleasant to return to once you’re ready to leave.
Prevent and Protect in the Sun
It goes without saying that if your baby is going to be in the sun, they need to be wearing an SPF. Many brands produce sunscreen specifically for babies, which are less likely to contain irritating additives often found in regular sun protection.
Granted, it won’t keep them cool, but it will protect them from sun damage, which infants are even more susceptible to. Light fabrics – such as cotton – help baby to stay cool as natural fibres let skin breathe. Synthetic fabrics tend to increase the likelihood of sweating. And if in the sun, it’s important for baby to wear a sunhat to protect their head and neck.
Read more about the best sun creams and sunscreens for your baby.
Keep the Nursery Cool
It may seem like reverse logic, but you’ll keep nurseries cooler by closing blinds or curtains during the day. Blackout blinds are particularly effective at cooling the room through their thermal insulation.
The nursery thermometer should read somewhere between 16c and 20c, and feel free to remove unnecessary bedding if you’re worried baby will be too hot – just a bedsheet is fine. The same goes for pyjamas – sleeping without in hot weather might be more comfortable for them. Another great treat for instant cooling is to place a bottle of frozen water or a bowl of ice in front of a fan; this will cool the air around the room until the ice has melted.
Read more about how to help your baby sleep in warm weather this summer.
Look After Baby’s Skin
As well as protecting your baby’s skin with SPF, locking in moisture is also super important for keeping your little one cool. Not to mention, when children and babies actively play outdoors, it can present various environmental stressors to the skin such as the irritating effect of chlorinated pool water, sweating and frequent washing of messy hands.
Washing you baby’s skin with gentle and dermatologically-approved products can help in hot weather. To prevent the skin from becoming damaged and dry, it is crucial to use a wash that gently cleanses skin, as well as the regular application of an emollient.
Dermatologist and AVEENO ambassador, Dr Stefanie Williams explains, “After playing outside, rinse baby skin with clean, lukewarm water and use a moisturising wash that is gentle enough for everyday use, such as the AVEENO® Baby Daily Care Baby Gentle Wash.
“After rinsing and pat drying the skin, apply a moisturiser such as the AVEENO® Baby Daily Care Moisturising Lotion to damp skin to maintain the skin’s natural moisture level and protect it from dryness, without being too heavy and uncomfortable in the heat.
The AVEENO Baby Daily Care range contains colloidal oatmeal and oat extract, both of which are known to prevent water loss; to protect the natural skin barrier and soothe sensitive skin.
Hang Damp Towels Over Radiators
Playing in a paddling pool is a great way to cool down on a hot day – just make sure it’s in the shade. Additionally, a cooling bath will help to freshen up baby before bedtime. Dabbing them down with a wet cloth at any time of day can help cool them down too.
Don’t Put Your Baby to Bed Too Early
Keep the Nursery Well Ventilated
As well as having the curtains drawn, it’s also a great idea to keep the window open slightly, as this will allow a cool breeze to enter the room. It’s important not to open them too much, as loud noises can disrupt your baby’s sleeping pattern.
Noah Levin, Chief Marketing Officer at Babysense reveals the importance of keeping your baby cool at night and how technology can play its part.
“As adults, we know how frustrating it can be when the country is in the midst of a heatwave and you’re struggling to find ways to cool down,” he explains.
“It’s almost impossible for a baby to communicate this with you, which is why it’s important we do all we can to keep their body temperature as cool as possible.
“We wanted to share some of the basic tips that can come in handy for parents during a heatwave and hopefully they prove to be a success in keeping your baby cool. From hanging damp towels over a radiator to keeping the curtains drawn within a nursery, you can help to create a more cooler and calm environment for your baby.
“Technology can also play a huge part in helping to keep your baby cool. There are air humidifiers which can be a great help in cooling the room temperature within your baby’s room, but it’s also worth investing in a breathing monitor, so you can keep a closer eye on the health of your baby during warmer weather.”
If all else fails, head to one of the baby-friendly swimming pools in your area for a good ol’ splash about.
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