Tips To Keep Baby Cool And Happy In The Summer Heat
Keeping your baby happy and comfortable in the scorching summer heat can be tricky. We cover all the tips and tricks you need to know to keep them safe and cool during the hot months. From when to use sunscreen to ideas on outdoor activities, we’ve got you covered.
Sunscreen is an absolute must for babies in the summer. Look for sunscreen of at least SPF30 and continue to reapply throughout the day even when they’re in the shade. You may also want to look for sun protection that is formulated for children and sensitive skin. Babies under the age of 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Sun parasols and umbrellas are a necessity for sitting out with your little ones. If your baby is over 6 months they can enjoy the sunshine, but it is advised to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm when it is at its strongest.
Cool baths and shallow paddling pools are ideal to keep babies cool in the heat. There are a few water safety rules to be aware of however to keep baby safe while splashing about. Always supervise your baby when they’re in or near water. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Don’t leave older children to supervise your baby. Babies in bath seats or inflatable boats/ rings must always be supervised and you should avoid using floatation aids in open water all together. Wearing arm bands or other floatation aids doesn’t protect your baby from drowning. When it comes to babies and water it’s always better to be overcautious.
Outdoor activities vs indoor activities
There are plenty of ways to have fun in the sun as well as ideas to keep baby cool and entertained indoors too. Organising a playdate with friends and their babies is a fun way to pass a warm sunny day and a great way for your baby to develop their socialisation skills. If your baby is weaning, why not create a teddy bear picnic in the shade with some fruits and vegetable sticks or set up a fan indoors and lay the babies down for some tummy time on a playmate in their nappies.
Sometimes travelling to the beach or park can feel like more hassle in the heat so why not check out these stay-at-home activities that you can do inside or outdoors?
Run a cool bath and throw in some fun bath toys. Always make sure to supervise your baby in the bath. For babies that are weaning why not make them an ice pop from fruits and water or even breastmilk. If they’re sitting, why not lay down a towel and a washing up tub of bubbly water with some soft rubbery utensils or toys for them to splash around.
If you’re feeling more adventurous why not head to the local shopping centre where the shops are likely to be air conditioned, or head to the aquarium, these are always temperature controlled and are a sensory delight for babies.
Paddling pools are a sure way to keep babies cool in the heat. Avoid the summer heat during peak hours and set up the paddling pool out of direct sun. You can also use a sun parasol to give baby some shade. Another water activity idea is to set up a tray with water and age appropriate toys for them to splash around in. Why not find your local outdoor lido or splash park. Simple things such as wind chimes or blowing bubbles can also entertain baby outside.
How to dress baby in the heat
Babies can’t control their temperature so you need to be aware of how to keep them cool and monitor how they’re reacting to the heat. Heat rash, caused by excessive sweating, is not a cause for concern but can be uncomfortable for babies. It can cause itchy, prickly skin and mild swelling. To prevent heat rash, make sure your baby is wearing loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing, ideally made of cotton. Give them cool baths and use lightweight bedding. Waterproof mattress covers can cause sweating so look to remove this for the summer months.
As your baby can’t talk and tell you if they’re too hot it can sometimes be tricky to navigate what bedtime clothing and bedding is appropriate. Aim to use breathable, cotton bedding and sleeping bags with low Tog count of 0.5 or 1.
Check out our sleepwear guide:
Hats are a must-have for all babies, ideally those with a wide brim or long flap to cover the neck. It can be tricky to get babies to keep sunglasses on, but being realistic, you’re more likely to have some luck keeping their sunglasses on if you buy ones with straps to keep them in place. Swimwear for babies should cover their sensitive skin as much as possible. Look for sun protection suits that cover their arms and legs, most often these suits come with UV protection too.
Feeding & nap schedules
During the summer months your baby may need topping up with cooled boiled water to keep them hydrated. It is important to monitor their hydration. Watch out for drowsiness, sunken eyes, less wet nappies and a sunken soft spot on top of their head; these are signs of dehydration. If you’re breastfeeding in summer you may find your baby is wanting more milk than usual, this is their way of keeping themselves hydrated. Breastfed babies don’t need water unless they’re starting to eat solids. In this case you can then give them cooled boiled water with their meals, however breastmilk should still be their main drink during their first year. For those formula feeding you can give your baby a little cooled boiled water.
Napping in the heat can be a struggle for your little one. Try to keep the curtains and blinds closed during the day to keep the sun out. Switch on the air conditioning for a while before their nap to cool down their room. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider buying a portable air conditioner or fan. It is ideal to try and temperature control your baby’s room. The ideal temperature for your baby to sleep comfortably in their room is between 16C and 20C.
Road trips in the summer heat
If you’re heading out for a road trip in the summer months there are a few things you might want to consider. Packing essentials to keep handy in the car for the journey is ideal; you may want to pack formula, bottles, sterilised boiled hot water in a vacuum flask, wipes, bib, soft toys and baby books. Consider car safety and have the passenger who isn’t driving sit with the baby in the back so if they need to give baby a feed or distract them with a toy or a book, it’s safer for you and for baby. You will need to consider space in the boot as you will need to fit the pram in there, potentially a travel cot and maybe a sun parasol for the pram – these are bulky items. If you’re formula feeding you’ll need to take a cold water sterilising tub with you and your tins of formula, as well as all the other formula feeding essentials. Nappies, baby bedding and baby clothes will take up a lot of your luggage space. Keep a changing mat, wipes and nappies handy also so if you need to make a pit stop to change a nappy, these essentials are at-hand.
When hitting the road, do some research ahead of time and check out baby-friendly events and activities at your destination. From beaches, to outdoor lido pools, to aquariums and nature parks there are plenty of activities to do with your baby when on a road trip.
Now that you've read our guide full of tips and ideas for baby to have fun safely in the sun you can start filling your diary with playdates, picnics, road trips and swim sessions.