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The best ways to keep babies and toddlers cool during hot weather

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While we may enjoy the hot weather, newborns aren’t so keen – here’s our guide to keeping them cool.
 
Unlike adults, newborns have a limited ability to regulate their own temperature. They can’t shiver to keep warm and alternatively, they can only sweat via the glands in their head, neck, hands and feet.
 
So in hot weather it’s really important to ensure your little one is not overheating.
 
Here's some tips:
 
• Don’t over-dress them. If you're wearing a t-shirt and shorts, it's fine for them to wear that too.
 
• Loose fitting clothes, preferably made of natural fibres such as cotton, are a good option to avoid them getting too hot.
 
• If you do take baby outside in the heat, make sure they wear a hat - but remove it as soon as you get into the car or the house to avoid them getting too hot.
 
• Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight so ensure you have a parasol for your buggy or seek out shade when you're out and about.
 
Problems high temperatures can cause babies
Dehydration: Babies need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you’re breastfeeding, you may find they want to feed more than usual. As well as milk, you can give baby cooled boiled water throughout the day.
 
If your baby has dry skin or lips, a sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of their head), fewer wet nappies, dark yellow urine, drowsiness or sunken eyes then they might be dehydrated. If this is the case, take them to your GP as soon as possible.
 
SIDS: Overheating has been linked to SIDS, also known as cot death. Make sure you don’t overdress your baby at night-time and that their room is cool. We’ve got more safe sleeping tips on the next page.
 
Sunburn: Small babies should never be exposed to direct sunlight. If for some reason, you cannot keep them covered up, make sure you have applied high factor sun lotion to their skin. Choose one especially for babies as this will be appropriate for their highly sensitive skin.
 
If your baby does get sunburnt, you need to take them immediately to your GP.
 
Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion can occur when the temperature inside the body rises to anything between the normal 37°C up to 40°C.
 
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- very hot skin
- heavy sweating
- dizziness
- a rapid heartbeat
- extreme tiredness
- feeling/being sick
- unconsciousness
- confusion
 
Babies and children under two exhibiting these symptoms should be taken to hospital. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into the much more serious condition of heat stroke.
 
Getting your baby to sleep in the heat
Ideally, the room where they sleep should be between 16 °C and 20 °C. If the temperature gets higher than this, it’s worth investing in a fan. Put it on before baby goes to bed to help lower the temperature. If you’re going to keep it on while baby is in the room, make sure it’s not directly on them and is also out of their grasp.
 
Another idea to keep the room cool involves hanging wet towels over chairs or doors - the evaporating water will help cool the air. You can also open windows, but if your little one is starting to move, make sure they can’t get out of them.
 
It may seem odd, but sheepskin can help keep baby cool in the summer months as well. Lining their moses basket or pushchair with a sheepskin liner will make them feel cosy and cool..
 
Make sure you don’t overdress baby either. If it’s really hot, the less clothes, the better. The Lullaby Trust recommend just a vest and nappy, sleep bag and nappy or even just a nappy when the mercury rises.
 
Share your tips for keeping your kids cool in the heat in the Comments box below.
29th June 2018, 13:29
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Page updated 29th Jun 2018, 13:29
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