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How To Make Sure Little Ones Are Safe In Hot Temperatures

2022 seems to have been the coldest spring and start to summer in a long time but when we have glimpses of real summer, the sun is coming out with a strength that’s making up for all the cool and gloomy days.

With babies and young children, it is often easier to get through the day when you can get outside. Whether you’re playing in the garden, meeting friends in the park or having a day out at a farm or zoo, your children will probably be more easily entertained once you’re out of the house. Even babies can seem easier when they have new things to look at and watch, although getting out of the house in the first place can be a bit of a struggle!

Having worked with children for most of my adult life, and having taken my youngest baby on holiday, aged 6 weeks, to Italy when they were having a heatwave, I wanted to share some tips that will help you keep your little ones safe through the hot weather and when you go to hot places on holiday.

Some of these may seem obvious, but I see people doing most of them most sunny days and have to hold myself back from calling out my car window to tell people “take all those covers off your baby - you’re cooking it!”

Babies can’t regulate their body temperature efficiently and your baby can overheat without you realising. They don’t sweat in the same way as adults and are likely to dehydrate in hot weather if you’re not careful, even if you can’t see any sweat on them

You’ll notice that there is a bit of a theme to a lot of these tips: air circulation! If the fresh air can’t circulate, the temperature will soar!

Tips for Baby Safety:

1. Don’t use your car seat as a pram. The air can’t circulate around your baby. The padded nylon makes them heat up and retain heat quickly. They get even hotter with the hood up, so keep the hood down even inside the car, but use window shades to keep tue sun off your baby. A buggy, bassinet or sling are cooler and safer options when you’re out and about.

2. Don’t cover your pram with a scarf or even a muslin. Find a parasol that is adjustable and allows the air to circulate while keeping the sun off your baby. I know they can be a paid to keep readjusting, but they will help prevent your baby from overheating.

3. Don’t use the bassinet cover or pram apron in the sun, it’s like popping your baby in a mini oven as they heat up and don’t cool down because they don’t allow for any airflow within the pram. In the last couple of years, I’ve seem more and more people using them in the hot weather and it just looks dangerous! If you want to see if yours is safe, put a thermometer in your pram with the apron on, leave it in the sun for half an hour and see how much hotter it is. It could be 10-15 degrees hotter than the regular air temperature!

4. Make sure your little one is wearing the same number of layers as you or less in hot weather. I see so many mums walking down the street in little, floaty outfits with babies in full baby grows, hats and cardigans in the blazing hot sunshine, especially when they are being carried in a sling or carrier. If you want to keep the sun off your baby, use a parasol or stay in the shade. Don’t overdress them!

5. Keep your baby indoors during the hottest part of the day if you can. And if you can’t, find some shade! Some people say this is from 10-2, others say it’s 11-3.

6. Use a damp muslin or flannel to cool them down.

7. Set aside cute outfits and take them out in a nappy! Cooler is safer than cute.

Tips for Toddler and Older Child Safety:

  1. Hats, suncream and a T-shirt. This combo means that their head, shoulders and skin are covered. If your toddler likes to pick their own clothes, and has a tendency to make inappropriate choices, take over and ensure they are dressed for the weather.

  2. Remember that dark things heat up in the sun. So check swings, slides, the buggy, benches and the ground if your little one’s skin is going to touch it. Their skin is more sensitive than yours and will burn more easily.

  3. Children LOVE to play with water, so invest in a small paddling pool that can be filled at the start of the day and emptied at the end of each day. It is amazing how quickly the water can go murky! And smaller pools warm up quicker, although most young children don’t seem to care if the water is freezing!

  4. Get them out of the midday sun by taking them inside for a cold drink, lunch and a frozen yogurt. And keep them indoors to play until 3pm when the sun isn’t so hot.

  5. Water in a hosepipe that has been in the sunshine CAN get dangerously hot, so make sure you run it through and check the temperature before blasting your kids with the hose.

  6. Put paddling pool rules in place from the first day it’s filled. Like, only get in when there is a grownup watching. Be clear about whether jumping in is safe. Only drink water from indoors (not paddling pool water). And dry off before going back into the house.

  7. Make sure they always have cold water handy and tell them to drink it.

The main thing is to have fun and stay safe! Summer isn’t nearly long enough in my opinion. But it’s definitely my favourite time of the year!!! (Yes, I love it way more than Christmas!)

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