The sun is shining, and you want to be outdoors as often as possible. When it comes to your baby, be careful to monitor him in the hot summer heat — it’s vital. Keep track of time, temperature and skin and follow up with these ways to keep your baby safe, courtesy of Ottilia Bulathsinghalage, MSN, APRN, FNP at Premier Health Middletown Family Practice.
Snacks that are high in water content are perfect to take with you and Baby on-the-go. Bulathsinghalage suggests packing fruits such as watermelon, honeydew melon and cantaloupe. Having snacks, baby bottles and first aid packs accessible in a handy cooler with ice packs will help keep these necessities cool, and Baby happy. Also, plan accordingly if you anticipate being outside for long periods of time, including dressing Baby in appropriate clothing.
“Sometimes parents or caregivers might think that keeping the baby without clothes is the best way to keep them cool during summer months,” Bulathsinghalage says. “This is not the case; it is important to dress them child in cool clothes as clothing provides a protective layer between the sunlight and baby’s skin,” she adds.
Offer Frozen Treats
Popsicles are great for the heat, and are also a lifesaver if your baby is teething. Frozen gel teething rings work great as well.
Use a Misting Bottle
Keep a water spray bottle filled with cool water for a pleasant, cool mist for Baby if it’s hot outside, suggests Bulathsinghalage, and be prepared.
“It will be good to have an extra set of clothes in case you need to change the baby to dry ones,” she suggests.
Keep Baby diaper-free when you can to let skin aerate and dry without the irritation of a heavy diaper, Bulathsinghalage suggests. Be on the lookout for diaper rash or heat rash and treat accordingly per your pediatrician’s instruction.
Protect from the Sun
With soaring temperatures, humidity and extra sun exposure be sure to re-apply Baby’s sunscreen on any exposed skin every 20 minutes. Be mindful of the delicate head (use a hat!) ears and feet. Consult with your pediatrician for preferred type of sunscreen for your baby. Take “baby steps” when introducing your baby to hot and steamy weather. Gradually increase outdoor exposure by taking frequent breaks; about 15 to 30 minutes at a time. As for the pesky sun: The highest exposure times are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so avoid taking Baby outdoors during these times. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says kids of all ages should avoid being outside when the heat index is 90 degrees F or higher.
Keep BABY Hydrated
The safest thing you can do with an infant is to make sure he’s getting all of his feedings — the water he needs will be there. But always have plenty of water on-hand for everyone in your family in hot weather. Bulathsinghalage says water is always the best option for kids when thirst strikes, but don’t offer your baby water in addition to breastfeeding or formula unless your pediatrician recommends it. A toddler may benefits from Pedialyte if he’s
“Pedialyte hydrates while replenishing electrolytes that are lost through sweating,” she says.
Signs of Over-Heating
Bulathsinghalage says that if Baby overheats, he can suffer from heat exhaustion and may develop more severe conditions such as heat stroke which may require emergency treatment. Watch for:
• If Baby feels warm to the touch
• If Baby looks flushed
• Excessive sweating
• Irritability: happens before lethargy
• Any temperature over 100.4 degrees F is overheated
If your child develops vomiting or excessive sweating, dry diaper for six or more hours, dry mouth, sunken eyes, lack of tears with crying — these are signs of overheating. Seek medical attention immediately.