Summer can be so fun, but it can also be so, so hot. But after more than a year of dealing with a pandemic, and restrictions loosening by the day, parents are ready to hit all the beaches and parks with their kids, despite the heat. The great outdoors (and your own backyard!) never looked so good, even as the temperature rises.
That being said, safety first, mamas. The CDC warns infants and children are more prone to developing heat-related illness than adults. And as my own mother would say, "the sun is mighty powerful." Here are some sun safety tips to help protect your kids this summer.
A heat wave doesn't have to mean an end to all summer family fun, but there are a few important steps parents should take to prevent heat-related illness and injury in little ones.
1. Schedule around the sun
If you've got little kids who have to get outdoors, or you just like to take your baby for a walk in the stroller, you still can if you pick the right time of day. The CDC recommends limiting outdoor activity to when it's coolest, like morning and evening hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) takes it a bit further and cautions against outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.. Basically, midday is a great time to head inside for lunch and a nap.
Beach days are a blast, but check the weather report and the COVID-19 recommendations first. The hottest day of the year might not be the best for beach-going, and crowds aren't recommended in most areas right now.
2. Sunscreen for the whole family
When you do go outside, make sure to slather on the sunscreen first. The CDC recommends an SPF of 15 or more (along with a hat and sunglasses) 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposures. The AAP recommends shade and adequate clothing as the first line of sun defense for babies under 6 months old, but even those little ones should get a small amount of sunscreen on areas like the face and the back of their hands.
3. Don't use blankets as sun blockers
When the sun's rays are intense parents naturally look for ways to keep the sun off a baby's delicate skin, but experts warn the common practice of draping a blanket (even a very thin muslin one) over a stroller or car seat can increase a baby's temperature drastically.
An experiment conducted by a Swedish newspaper found that if it's 71F (22C) outside when a stroller is covered with a blanket, the inside of the stroller can reach a scorching 94F (34C) within about half an hour.
So instead of draping a blanket over the stroller parents can make use of canopies that attach to the stroller but don't trap the heat, and should seek shade for the baby as much as possible.
4. Keep everyone hydrated
According to the World Health Organization, babies under 6 months old do not need water, but older children should be offered plenty on hot days, says the CDC. Bottle fed babies may require more frequent formula feeds in order to stay hydrated in the heat, and breastfeeding babies may want to nurse more than usual during hot weather. That means mama will need to make sure she's well hydrated, too.
With lots of water and a few more indoor activities, we can make it through the heat wave and plan for some more fun in the sun when the temperatures are a little less intense.
[A version of this post was originally published July 1, 2020. It has been updated.]
We've got what you need to safely beat the heat, mama. Shop some of our simple summer favorites.
We love mineral-based sunscreens for their safety + coverage, but they can often be tough to apply. Not the case with this one from Vivaiodays! It goes on easily and is perfect for sensitive baby skin. Water-resistant for 40 minutes, it's also reef-safe and protects babies and kids from both UVA and UVB rays.
Throw your towels, totes, buckets—and, oh yeah, your babes!—in here and your trip from the car to the sand will be smooth sailing. Bonus: The canopy has a UPF of 50, so nap time is made in the shade.
Finding a shady spot for baby is key to a great day at the beach, but we'd be lying if we said we hadn't struggled with finding a beach tent that doesn't require an engineering degree to set up. Until we found this cabana—it's light, easy to carry, and 100% foolproof. (Check out more options in our beach tent round up !)
You know what will set off a baby tantrum fast? Sun-warmed water in their sippy cup. Keep a stash of icy cold H20 for the whole family in Welly's non-toxic BPA-free 28-ounce water bottle, which keeps liquids cold for 24 hours (and comes with an infuser for adding fruit for flavor!)
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy.