Having a baby in the summer is awesome! You can be out and about and enjoy being outside. At the same time, it is important to understand that young babies aren’t always compatible with the season. They have different needs than adults and older children, and so understanding proper newborn care during the summer months, from sun and heat protection to preventing rashes and bug bites, is of utmost importance. So if you gave birth recently, here are 8 tips to keep your newborn safe all season long.
1. Avoid overheating. Infants are not able to regulate their temperature as well as older children and adults, so it is important to avoid overdressing your little one. Use light fitting clothing and know that your infant will typically need one light layer more than you have on. When in the house, avoid over-bundling as well. During heat waves, stay in a cool air conditioned space. This will help avoid overheating and will keep your baby cool and comfortable.
2. Sun Safety. It is important to avoid direct sun exposure for your infant. When hanging out outdoors on hot days, find a shady place. When you are outside, dress them in sun protective clothing and a hat. In babies over six months old, apply sunscreen and reapply frequently. For infants younger than six months, it is okay to apply small amounts of sunscreen to exposed areas such as the face but staying out of the sun really is your best option. If you are hanging out at the beach or in the park, consider getting a tent with UVA and UVB protection for your little one to hang out in.
3. Stay hydrated. It is very important to make sure babies are drinking enough, especially on hot days. Children under 6 months should not drink water, so make sure to breastfeed them or give them formula frequently. Keep in mind if you are a nursing mom, you will want to stay hydrated yourself and make sure you are drinking extra water.
4. Consider timing. Go for walks or outings early in the morning or later in the day to avoid being outside during the hottest periods of the day, which usually falls between 10 am and 4 pm.
5. Prevent rashes. Avoid tight fitting clothing to avoid your little one getting heat rash. To prevent diaper rash, use a chlorine-free diaper like Earth’s Best and apply diaper cream with diaper changes to create a barrier. Change your little one’s diaper frequently to avoid her sitting a wet diaper, which can lead to diaper rash.
6. Avoid insect bites. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over 2 months of age use an insect repellent with DEET. Children under 2 months should not use DEET. If you are not keen on using DEET, try putting it on clothing or on the stroller and using a natural insect repellent on your little one’s skin. Alternatively, you can use mosquito nets. Check your children nightly from head to toe for any ticks and if you see one, remove it as soon as possible. Avoid hanging out in areas with stagnant water, where mosquitoes are more likely to gather, and remember to wash off repellents once you and your little one are back indoors.
7. Stay safe on road trips. Never leave an infant or child in a car unattended, even for one minute! The inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures very quickly. When traveling with children, always check the back seat to make sure that your little one is out of the car seat. If you want to be cautious, you can put your cell phone or wallet in the back seat as a reminder.
8. Prevent infection. Infants who have not had their two month vaccines should avoid going to crowded or enclosed spaces. That's said, as long as you keep them away from direct sunlight and feed them frequently, that is no reason to stay indoors. You can hang out in the park, go on walks, or sit outside at a café -- just make sure you you follow the aforementioned recommendations to avoid overheating and dehydration.