Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your little ones, but it also comes with some challenges and risks. Here are some tips from pediatricians and the CDC on how to keep your infants and toddlers safe and cool in the summer heat, while having fun with some activities.
- Seek shade. Use a stroller canopy, an umbrella, or a hat to protect your baby’s delicate skin from sunburns. Pediatricians do not recommend sunscreen until 6+ months. Look for infant hats labeled with SPF for the best results.
- Dress coolly. Choose light-colored, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen for your baby’s clothing. Avoid synthetic materials that can trap heat and cause overheating. Dress your baby in one layer more than you would wear comfortably at the same temperature.
- Drink liquids. Keep your baby hydrated with breast milk or formula. If your baby is older than six months, you can also offer water in a sippy cup or a bottle. Avoid giving juice or soda, which can cause diarrhea and dehydration.
- Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Use a stroller canopy, an umbrella, or a hat to protect your baby’s delicate skin from sunburns. Newborns and infants should not be exposed to temperatures over 80 degrees.** They can overheat which leads to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). [Never leave your infant alone in the car for any period. As soon as you turn off your car’s AC, remove your child. Every second an infant is in the car is critical.]
- Schedule extra rest time. Playing in the heat can make your baby tired and cranky. Plan for some downtime or naps after outdoor activities. Keep your baby’s room cool and dark, and use a fan or an air conditioner if needed.
- Avoid the hottest parts of the day. Plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or the late evening, when the temperature is cooler and the sun is less intense. If you have to go out during the day, check the heat index and avoid going out if it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summer Activities That Keep Your Child Cool
Some fun and safe summer activities for hot days are the following:
- Water play. Water is a great way to cool off and have fun in the summer. You can use a sprinkler, a hose, a water table, a kiddie pool, or a splash pad to let your baby enjoy some water play. Always supervise your baby near water and use a life jacket if you go boating or swimming.
- Playground time. Playground time is good for your baby’s physical and social development. You can help your baby slide, swing, climb, or crawl on age-appropriate equipment. Check the playground for safety hazards, such as broken equipment, sharp edges, or hot surfaces. Use sunscreen and insect repellent to protect your baby from sunburns and bug bites.
Summertime is a fun time for parents and children. No fun activity or family outing should override safety. If you have a newborn or infant consider scheduling your beach trip for the Fall or traveling to cooler regions. Follow all pediatrician and CDC guidelines to keep your precious infants from overheating.*