Temperatures are skyrocketing- what’s a hot weather parent to do? Don’t let high temperatures keep you from doing what you love with your little one. Carry on with these hot weather safety tips.
It might sound obvious, but stay out of the sun wherever possible. Keep outdoor activities to the morning and evening when the temps are a bit cooler. Babies lack the ability to regulate body temperature the way adults do and their skin is even more likely to sunburn. Take advantage of air conditioned spaces wherever possible. If you feel hot, your baby probably feels even hotter.
Dress lightly, but keep a thin layer between your body and your baby’s as skin to skin may be too hot and sticky. Be mindful that the carrier will act as another layer of clothing and adjust the way you and baby are dressed accordingly. Be aware of body parts that are not covered by the carrier as well- an accidently exposed neck or leg can quickly burn in the sun. Sun hats are a must (preferably ones that offer neck protection). Many brands of baby leggings come in mesh UV-protection options and are a perfect pairing with baby carriers.
Make sure baby is always visible. It can be tempting to pull up a sleeping hood to create shade. You must always be able to see baby’s face both to maintain an open airway, and to ensure that baby is not overheating. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can overcome babies quickly and a sleepy, lethargic baby may be overheated. Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat stroke in babies.
Regularly take your baby out of the carrier to release trapped heat and circulate air between your bodies. Babies who seem distressed or overheated in any way should be removed from the carrier and brought somewhere cooler immediately. Avoid carriers with bulky inserts, excessive padding and multi-layers as these will all restrict airflow.
Choose a hot-weather appropriate carrier. Single layer carriers (ring slings, lightweight wraps), breathable materials (linen, gauze, lightweight cotton and moisture wicking fabrics) and light coloured carriers can keep you as cool as possible. Buckle carriers or mei tais with vents, mesh panels, and curved hourglass shaped sides will all offer increased airflow. If it is developmentally appropriate, hip and back carries can be slightly cooler than front carries. Water wraps and slings are a great option for cooling off in the water together.
Water, lots of water. Make sure you and your baby are well hydrated. This is especially important for breastfeeding mothers. A light mist of water over you and your baby from a spray bottle can cool you both down quickly. A cold washcloth on the back of a baby’s neck (and yours too!) can also offer relief. Cooling towels offer stay-cool cloths, neck and head bands to keep you cool without getting you wet. Cooling towels work through evaporation and can be draped around your neck or head. We don’t advise placing them between the parent’s and baby’s bodies as this both inhibits evaporation and can interfere with baby’s natural temperature regulation. Babies under 6 months of age are particularly vulnerable to temperature extremes and should be monitored closely. Avoid using products like cooling towels with very young babies as this can interfere with their ability to regulate temperature. Your safest approach is to take a break in a cooler location and follow some of the other tips above for relief.
Take a break! Sometimes it’s just too hot and sticky and if you don’t feel like babywearing, that’s ok! Wait until it cools down and both you and baby feel comfortable wearing again.
Keep the above safety tips in mind and you and your little one will be keeping your cool while the mercury rises.