Several places across the world are experiencing higher-than-average temperatures. For areas with people who aren't accustomed to or equipped to deal with extreme heat, the weather is dangerous, especially for certain groups of people like, infants and babies, and people who are ill and aging. It's important to know the basics on how to keep your infant cool and how to recognize overheating.
Know the signs of overheating in babies. Flushed cheeks, sweating, fussiness, tiredness, and warm to the touch skin can all be signs a baby is beginning to get too hot, or "heat exhaustion." If heat exhaustion progresses, the skin can actually feel cool and look pale, and baby may look ill or sickly. Signs that indicate heat stroke, which is more serious than heat exhaustion and requires quick medical attention, include running a temperature, hot, red, dry skin, rapid heart beat, vomiting, fast, shallow breathing, lethargic behavior, and unconsciousness.
Hydration for babies is critical -- but not with water. Infants and babies under 6 months do not need water, but they do need to drink breast milk or formula on a regular basis, and may need increased amounts when spending time in the heat.
Take frequent breaks or stay indoors -- with air conditioning. If possible, get out of the heat and allow your baby (and yourself) to cool down, even if it means sitting in an air conditioned car or visiting the local library or mall.
Dress baby in light colors, and breathable, loose, and lightweight fabric. When in doubt, go with cotton as it is still the most breathable, coolest fabric.
The shade can help, but not as much as you think. The air temperature in the shade and the sun are the same, contrary to what most people think. The difference is that in the shade, you're not being hit with the sun's rays, which can make you feel more hot and make it harder for you to cool down.
Use caution when allowing baby to sleep/sit in a stroller or car seat while outdoors or in hot environments. There is less airflow in a stroller and car seat, which can increase body heat. Be sure that the stroller or car seat is not covered and keep an eye on your baby's temperature, health, and comfort.
Use cool -- not cold -- wet cloths to pat down your baby's skin. This will help drop their temperature.
Remove clothing to bring down temperature quickly.
Use a fan or fan baby. Combined with a cool, wet cloth, this will help cool baby quickly. Keep a close eye when using an electric fan that baby does not get too cold.
Never, ever leave a baby alone in a car. The temperature in a car when it's shut off climbs drastically and quickly. Always bring your baby with you, even if you're just running into a place quickly. To protect your baby from accidental hot car death, leave an object in the passenger seat to remind you that your baby is in the back, and/or leave an item you will need in the back seat with your baby, like a wallet, phone, or shoe. When baby is quiet/sleeping and/or when a parent is sleep deprived or there is a change in habit/schedule/routine, there is a higher risk of forgetting an infant in the car.
TagsBaby Safety Summer safety tips Heat exhaustion Heat stroke