Infants and toddlers ability to self-regulation of the body temperature is less efficient, therefore they feel the heat more intensely than an adult.
Young babies cannot tell you when they feel too hot. That’s why they are more vulnerable to heat-related conditions. Especially on a hot summer days, the risk of overheating or a sunstroke increases significantly.
How to prepare for hot weather to keep your baby cool and comfortable?
This article is not a substitute for medical consultation
Summer weather doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home with your child. You can take your baby out when it’s warm, if you prepare your little one and his/her stroller properly. There are some rules you should follow to protect your kiddo from overheating.
Of course when the weather is great, it’s worth spending as much time outside as possible – because it’s one of the best ways to boost children’s immunity. Moreover, it can also be a pleasant and relaxing time for mom and dad!
How Can I Protect My Babies In Summer When We Go Out?
Choose the right time for your walk. Experts recommend to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
The rule no. 1 to protect baby in summer is not to go out between 10am and 4pm, and when you go out with your little one, stick to the places that give you both some shade.
If you can, choose a park where the temperature feels noticeably lower, rather than a river boulevard where you’d be fully exposed to sun. Always avoid places with no shade and direct exposure to sun. It is crucial especially if you’re out and about with your newborn in a stroller (or kiddo under 6 months).
Besides, you should introduce your child to summer weather step by step – gradually increasing the amount of time you spend outdoors.
Keep in mind that infants are less able to sweat (in other words: to keep their internal temperature down). That’s why it’s so important to avoid sun exposure when the sun it’s strongest. If you feel it’s too hot and you’re sweaty and uncomfortable, there are high chances your little one feels the same or even worse.
How Do I Protect My Kid From Sun In A Stroller?
One of the most important things is to invest in a stroller that has a generous canopy made of a breathable SPF50+ fabric. It’s best if the hood features one or two mesh windows that increase the airflow. Keep in mind that the air circulates and cools your little rider down only when you’re moving and pushing the stroller. When you stop, this mesh window doesn’t do much.
If you go outside on a warm, but windy day such large and extendable canopy will give your child plenty sunshade and protect from sunburns. However if the hood fabric is very thick and doesn’t allow the air to circulate through, it may not always be so useful.
One more important thing – if you live in a hot climate, it’s better to choose a stroller in light color which reflects the sun rays rather than absorbs them and doesn’t get that hot.
|>> More tips on choosing the right stroller + my list of the best strollers you can get in 2020|
When it’s hot and there’s no wind, it could be a better option to fold the canopy away (or even detach it) and install a stroller umbrella instead. This may the air circulation won’t be blocked, however your child will be still protected from harmful sun rays.
There are some universal umbrellas for pushchairs, but it’s best to get it from the same brand as the stroller to make sure it fits properly.
|PRO TIP: Never cover the stroller and canopy with towel, blanket or nappie, even if it’s very thin. It poses a risk to child’s life – more on that below.|
Removing The Back Panel
Some strollers have removable back panel or mesh window at the seat top which is very useful when you aim to keep baby from sweating. Others (like Nuna MIXX 2019) have 2in1 seat fabric – when you detach top layer, you reveal mesh layer, ideal for summer.
It will absorb the moisture when your young one gets a bit sweaty, and protect them from getting too hot. It needs to be made of a breathable fabric. It’s a good solution if the seat or bassinet has foam filling – which gives good support for infant back, but is not very breathable.
The liner should be easy to remove and machine-washable.
If you’re strolling with a newborn in the bassinet, make sure that he/she has plenty room to wiggle around. The same rule applies to older babies riding in strollers. If the baby is squeezed in the seat, he/she will sweat and might get overheated.
To protect your baby from sun in a stroller, choose proper chemical-free sunscreen, suitable for infants. Apply it 30 minutes before you head outside and reapply it frequently, even on overcast days.
How Do You Keep Baby Cool In Buggy?
Here are further tips to make sure your precious cargo is comfortable and cool.
To keep baby cool in buggy, dress them lightly in thin loose-fitting clothes made of airy fabrics. Choose light, rather than dark colors.
Keep in mind that when the infants fall asleep in a bassinet, their body temperature may drop a little and then they will be much more pleasant under a light cover (you can use a cloth diaper).
Don’t forget about face and neck protection, especially if you have an infant or newborn in stroller who has little or no hair. Brimmed hat is a good solution.
BTW, remember about protecting your kid eyes – invest in high-quality sunglasses with UV filter.
This is one of the parents tricks. You can place wet towel or nappy (previously soaked in cool, not cold, water) on kid’s skin to cool them down.
This is one of the accessories that became quite popular lately and it’s may be pretty handy for cooling the kid down a bit.
Fan has a universal clip that easily attaches to the buggy frame. You can also use for keeping baby cool in a car seat or attach it to the baby carrier shoulder strap or wrap while babywearing.
Keep Babies Hydrated & Monitor Their Temperature
Whenever you’re spending time outdoors with your babies in warm weather, give them more fluids than usual to keep them hydrated, whether it’s breast milk, formula or water (if your infant is already drinking water).
Monitor children’s temperature frequently to be sure they are cool and comfy.
Moreover, check how often you change your infant’s diaper. If he/she is making less diaper it can indicate dehydration. Other signs include dry and tacky mount, less energy, less tears when baby is crying.
Remember to take breaks every 15-30 minutes. You can step at a coffee shop or store with AC for relief from heat.
Make sure to keep extra bottle of water for yourself as well!
What Temperature Is Safe To Take Baby Outside In Summer?
According to APP (The American Academy of Pediatrics1) it’s safe to take your child outside if the heat index is below 90°F (32°C), identified by the National Weather Service. In other words: temperature of 84°F with 70% humidity is the maximum. Heat index higher than 90°F poses a significant health risk to children of all ages.
Notice that all of these recommendations say about the heat index which is how hot it really feels outside, when you also consider relative humidity2.
So how hot is too hot for baby in stroller? As recommended by the APP, when the heat index is at of above 90°F it is too hot for baby to be outside and/or stay in a stroller.
Keep in mind that these are only recommendation and you should assess if it’s safe for you kiddo to stay outdoors accordingly to your situation (for example if your infant or toddler has a medical condition, they might not tolerate high temperatures and their condition might get worse because of the heat).
Obviously young kiddo cannot tell you he/she is feeling overheated and unwell. You need to be careful and look out for sign of heat exhaustion.
I always recommend consulting with a doctor to be sure what temperature is okay for the kiddo.
Dangerous Mistakes That You Should Avoid
I have seen parents pushing strollers with a cover over it. I know that they do this is a good faith – they want to protect their baby in a stroller and avoid sunburns. This is a mistake that can have really dangerous consequences!
Parents want to keep the stroller fully shaded, especially when they can’t apply a sunscreen on baby’s skin.
But instead of protecting their children and keeping them cool, they make the situation even worse and create “sauna conditions” inside the stroller – which gets unbearably hot and humid.
A few years ago Svante Norgren – a pediatrician at the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital in Stockholm told Svenska Dagbladet (local newspaper) that covering the stroller even with a thin muslin blanket makes the pram interior extremely hot – “something like a thermos” to be precise3. Of course all of this puts the baby at high risk of overheating, fainting, stroke and SIDS.
Importantly, the newspaper tested pediatrician’s theory and the results were as follows:
-When the buggy was not covered it heated up to 22°C (about 71.6°F) in 90 minutes.
-Buggy with a thin cover reached 34°C (about 93.2°F) within 30 minutes, and then it reached 37°C (about 98.6°F) in just 60 minutes in the sun!
Just think of the conditions you create inside a stroller if you place a cover on the front. It’s like you’d close it from each side. The airflow is blocked and the temperature rises quickly. Moreover, the air humidity is increased, and the oxygen concentration is reduced.It’s similar to the conditions in a closed car (never leave a child in a car!).
Therefore you should never put any coverage on a stroller or its canopy – this won’t protect your infant or toddler from heat. Instead, you’re risking dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
What’s important, whenever you’re breastfeeding outside, don’t cover your infant with nappy or anything else. Nursing is an effort for babies which can cause a little sweating. Additional cover will definitely not help and will not only decrease their comfort, but could also put them at higher risk of heat-related illness .
There is one more mistake that you must avoid to keep the baby safe in spring and summer weather. Never leave the stroller on the sun because the metal parts will get hot and burn babe skin.
Going Outside With Baby In Warm Weather
Of course you can go outdoors with your little one in summer, you just need learn about keeping baby cool in stroller (or car seat).
Keeping baby cool and protecting them from sun requires using proper buggy with lots of mesh windows that increase the airflow inside it, investing in stroller umbrella, dressing baby lightly, keeping them hydrated, using proper sunscreen and fan or wet towels to cool babies down.
Always avoid strongest sun (between 10am and 4pm) and direct exposure. Pick places with lots of shade. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician, especially when your babe is under 6 months and/or has any medical condition/disease.
The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. Remember: safety first! Before you head outside with your children to enjoy spring or summer weather, consult pediatrician and/or your GP! The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.