By Tara Phillips, RN, IBCLC, Boone Family Birthplace
With the current pandemic, we have all been staying safe by staying home and practicing social distancing. Though we might desperately be ready for fun in the sun and some extra vitamin D, it’s equally important to keep your baby safe in the summer heat. Enjoy your summer!
1. Sunscreen: The Center for Disease Control & Prevention recommends putting sunscreen on you and your children before you go out each day. The recommendation is that you use a SPF of 15 or higher. You need to reapply sunscreen after sweating or swimming, and as needed. Also, look at the ingredients on your sunscreen bottle. The skin is a very absorbent organ and will soak up anything you apply.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under 6 months old are kept in shaded areas and are not put in the direct sunlight. If sunscreen is needed, it takes 30 minutes before it will protect baby’s skin. Only use a small amount of sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF and only apply it to small areas such as the infants face and the back of their hands.
2. Head Protection: Wearing a hat can protect your child’s scalp, eyes, ears and the back of their neck
3. Water: Water is very important to stay hydrated. Infants get their hydration from breastmilk or formula feedings. Slowly start adding water to your child’s diet around 6 months to 1 year of age. Children between 4 and 13 should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Watch your child for signs of dehydration, including thirst, reduced or dark-colored urine, dry mouth, decreased tearing, decreased sweating, muscle cramping, nausea, vomiting and light headedness. Seek medical attention if your child seems dehydrated and you are unable to get them to drink fluids.
4. Activities: Schedule outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. Take breaks to spend time in the shade and drink water. Pack a portable, battery-powered fan to take with you on outings.
5. Hot Vehicles: Never leave your child in the car alone, not even with the windows cracked. Cars can reach a high temperature very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel hot outside. Most hot car accidents are unintentional, so get in the habit of checking the back seat before locking and leaving your car. Try placing your phone or purse in the back seat, which will encourage you to look in the back seat when getting out. Another suggestion is to place a stuffed animal in your car seat and move the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat whenever your child is in the car. This will remind you to take your child out of the car when you exit your vehicle.
6. Cool Down: Water activities can help you stay cool during the summer. Many water parks have lessons for all ages. Get your child started early on learning water safety, but no matter their skill level, never leave children unattended near water.
7. Clothing: Dress your baby in loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing to provide air flow and prevent overheating.
Bringing Up Boone Babies is a support group provided by Boone Family Birthplace that is free and open to all parents of newborns, infants, and toddlers. Join our Bringing Up Boone Babies Facebook group »