May 01 , 2020
Ah, summer. A lovely and exciting time of the year filled with trips to the beach, cool iced teas, and endless games…if you’re a carefree kid. For new and veteran parents though, summer often means protecting little ones from sunburn, heat rash, strokes, and other serious conditions caused by hot weather. Doubly so for parents who need to protect their babies’ sensitive skin from the harsh rays of the sun.
The sun's harsh rays can strike even when you’re simply staying at home. They can intrude into nurseries and living rooms through open blinds and doors. Even if you’ve closed up every tiny gap into your house, you’ll still need to watch out for rather warm and humid air indoors. Here are some tips for protecting your baby’s delicate health during hot and blistering weather.
Is It Okay To Use Air Conditioners?
When the weather becomes a bit too hot to handle, our first instinct is to turn the AC at full blast. This might be fine if you’re living alone or living with older kids and teens, but what about if you’ve got a baby in the house? Worry not, parenting experts and doctors agree that you can still use an air conditioner with infants. As long as you take proper precautions, you and your baby will feel cool and comfy.
First and foremost, resist the temptation to set the temperature all the way down. Babies simply aren’t equipped to deal with temperatures that are way too cold or way too warm for comfort. The best temperature setting to use would be one within a range of 23 to 26 degrees Celsius (73.4 to 78.8 degrees Farenheit).
Your baby should also be snugly dressed while the AC is on. To protect your baby’s skin from cool air, dress them up in light clothing that can cover their arms and legs. You can also let your baby wear caps, mittens, and socks to keep them well protected. Of course, you should also be careful and only let them wear clothes that aren’t too tight or too warm to wear comfortably.
The cool air from an AC Unit might dry your baby’s skin out, so do apply moisturizing lotions before turning it on. You should also keep your air conditioner free of any dust or mold. Otherwise, your baby can become sick from harmful microbes spread in the air. You should also avoid transferring your baby from warm places right after turning off the AC since they can become sick from sudden changes in temperature.
Use Comfortable And Light Colored Clothing
It’s best to let your baby wear blue, white, and other light colors during the summer months since they can reflect sunlight back. Dark colors, like black and dark blue, aren’t very good to use in sunny weather since they can absorb sunlight and cause your baby to feel hot. You should also stick to using cotton fabrics since they allow healthy air circulation without causing any irritation to a baby’s sensitive skin.
Avoid using clothes that fit too tightly as your baby can break out in rashes if their clothes stick to their sweaty skin. You should also avoid overdressing your baby so that they don’t feel too hot and irritated. The huge ribbons, fleece sweaters, and extra layers can wait until Fall or Winter.
Don’t Stay Under The Sun Carelessly
Babies can’t stay under the sun for too long since their skin doesn’t produce enough melanin—a natural skin pigment that serves as a shield against the sun’s harsh rays. When babies are exposed to the sun for too long, they can develop melanoma later on life. Of course, you can still help your baby get his daily dose of Vitamin D so long as you provide them with enough skin protection.
Avoid exposing your baby to the sun between 11 AM to 3 PM since this is usually when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. When carrying your baby, make sure their backs are facing the sun. This way, your baby can receive healthy amounts of Vitamin D without suffering burns to their face. If your baby is older than 6 months, you can cover exposed parts of their skin with baby-friendly sunscreen for additional protection. On the other hand, if your baby is younger than 6 months, they might not be ready for direct exposure to the sun as their skin doesn’t have enough melatonin yet.
Don’t be afraid to let your baby use sunhats and sunglasses during the summer. These accessories can not only make your baby look adorable, but also protect their skin and eyes from the sun’s harsh rays.
Don’t Rely Too Much On Blanket Covers
Covering your stroller with a blanket to protect your baby from the sun isn’t as helpful as you think. This will only end up trapping hot air inside the stroller. The lack of cool air and ventilation combined with too much heat won't provide any additional protection, but instead only cause your baby further discomfort. Rather than relying on blankets and cloth, try using stroller fans and baby carriers made with nylon covers.
Stave Off Dehydration
The more your baby sweats in the summer, the more likely they are to become dehydrated. Make sure to always watch for signs of dehydration, such as lethargy or low energy, lack of regular bowel movements, and rapid breathing. You can stave off dehydration by giving babies more breastmilk and formula than usual. If your baby is older than 6 months, you can give them small amounts of water to keep them properly hydrated.