If you plan to take your baby to a foreign country, and particularly if you are going to spend time with your baby in a hot climate, some precautionary steps are needed.
Babies get dehydrated and overheated quickly. The sun’s rays are dangerous to a baby’s skin and for any baby not breastfeeding, there is the risk of food poisoning.
Here you’ll find tips on how to make your baby comfortable and safe in hot weather.
Tips For Caring For A Baby In Hot Weather
- Stay out of the sun
- Avoid dehydration
- Avoiding hot spots
- Bathing your baby
- Take off the diapers
- Food storage
Stay out of the sun
Baby skin is very thin and delicate and can’t handle the sun very well.
Babies younger than 12 months really should not be exposed to the sun at all.
Keep your baby in the shadow and protect him or her with thin clothes and hats. Sunscreen cream is really a last resort solution, as it can contain harmful substances. If you really need to use sunscreen, use one specially made for babies and with really high sun protection factor.
If you haven’t yet bought a mosquito net for your baby’s stroller, consider buying one that contains UV protection for your child.
Or, actually even more convenient if it is the sun rather than the mosquitos that are the main problem, buy a sunshade for your stroller… These are a great invention that allows air to flow into the stroller much better than most mosquito nets. And many of them do protect from mosquitos as well.
Babies can’t really say if they’re thirsty and a baby in hot weather can get dehydrated very fast. If you breastfeed, consider feeding your baby more often than usual if it is very hot. Also remember to drink a lot of water yourself, to stimulate milk production. If your baby has started to eat solid food, offer water also between meals.
Signs of dehydration:
- Not looking well
- Being more irritable than usual
- Having dry skin and/or a sunken fontanel
- Urinating less than usual
If you suspect that your baby is becoming dehydrated, offer a lot of extra fluid. Contact a doctor if you are worried and your baby refuses to drink.
Avoiding hot spots
If your baby lies or sits in a car seat or stroller, check often how warm he or she is. Both strollers and car seats can become very hot.
Putting a thermometer in the stroller next to your baby can be quite useful. Babies younger than 4 months are at the highest risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and being overheated is one possible cause.
In addition to the risk of SIDS, your child can get heatstroke.
Signs of heatstroke are:
- A hot baby with a rising body temperature
- Urinating less than usual
- A headache – of course hard to know if your baby suffers from headaches, but an older kid might be able to tell you.
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Being sleepy and irritable
- In bad cases – confusion, vomiting and even coma
If your baby appears to suffer from heatstroke, he/she might need hospital treatment. Call for urgent help!
In the meantime, bring him to a cool (not cold) place, try to make your baby drink fluid (if conscious), and cool him/her off by using cool damp cloths.
You can learn more about heatstroke in babies here.
Bathing your baby
For a baby in hot weather, a bath can be a great way to prevent heatstroke. Many babies get crazy with happiness when splashing the water.
Just remember to let your baby decide if he or she wants to just dip the toes or have a real bath. If the water is colder than 90 F (32 C), your baby should not swim but only splash; it is simply too cold for his/her little body.
If you’re going to swim in a pool, consider smearing your baby with baby oil before bathing. The chlorine in the water can really make both your and your baby’s skin dry. But remember, your baby will become very slippery, so be careful!
Also, remember that the combination of sun and water is even more dangerous for your baby’s skin that just the sun. Bathe your baby in the shadow or put on some good sun protection clothing. Some are not only good they are also really cool!
Take off the diapers
Moist diapers and hot weather is a really bad combination for your baby’s skin. Therefore, let your baby spend time without diapers as often as possible. This way, you will prevent diaper rash or prickly heat from developing. Let your baby lie on a towel in the grass (in the shadow).
With warm weather comes bacteria growth. If your baby has started to eat solid foods, make sure that you serve your baby fresh foods. Throw away anything that seems suspicious and don’t store food for more than a day or so.
That was about it! If you follow these tips, I am sure you will have a great time while spending with your baby in hot weather! If you want some inspiration regarding great vacation spots with babies, read other parents’ tips here.