Hot temperatures mean backyard BBQs, playdates at the park and dips in the pool but when the dog days of summer roll in, you might be wondering how hot is too hot for your baby? You’re right to worry, babies and children can overheat and dehydrate quickly in hot and humid conditions because they haven’t yet learned to regulate their body temperature—not to mention the additional stresses of sun protection. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time outdoors with your little one this summer, just follow these easy guidelines to keep your baby safe and comfortable from the elements.

Know their limits

A baby’s body has a harder time dealing with extreme heat because it doesn’t perspire effectively yet—which is the body’s natural way of cooling itself down. Generally, when temperatures climb above 32 degrees Celsius, you should keep outdoor activities to a minimum and make sure they don’t overheat or get dehydrated.

Pick the right clothes

The rule of thumb is to dress baby the way you would dress yourself—don’t add layers just because they’re little. When the temperatures rise, stick to loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, in natural fibers like cotton. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day, UV rays penetrate clouds, so keep the dress code similar with an airy long-sleeve top and lightweight pants. Make sure not to overdress your baby in the car, no extra blankets or covers in the heat, as it gets quite hot. And never leave a baby in a parked car! The inside car temperature especially when parked in direct sunlight can rise very quickly. Use window shades to protect them from the sun during car rides.

Signs of illness

A flush face, skin that’s warm to the touch, rapid breathing and restlessness are warning signs of dehydration. It’s best to keep babies extra hydrated during the summer by nursing or giving formula frequently. Remember, water is not recommended for babies under 6 months and even over 6 months, their intake is limited. A good way to detect dehydration is also to monitor if they’re having as many wet diapers as usual.

Time activities properly to avoid sun exposure

Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months, which means you need to be extra vigilant when exposing your baby to the sun. The best time to be outdoors with your baby is before 10 am or after 2 pm, when the UV rays are not as harmful. Either way, when going for a walk or for a trip to the park, pool or beach, look for shaded areas and invest in a UV protecting umbrella for your stroller.

July 26, 2019 — James DiMiele