We are experiencing fluctuating weather conditions right now in Sri Lanka. On some days the rain is torrential and so the temperature is alright while on other days the heat is unbearable. If we, as adults have such a hard time dealing with this blistering heat, imagine how difficult it must be for the babies? So here are some tips that will help you keep your infant safe from the heat.
Keep your baby cool and protect them from the sun. Babies and young children can’t cool themselves as well as adults so they’re more at risk of overheating and developing a heat-related illness. The tips below will help keep your child happy and healthy in the heat:
• Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, the pigment that provides some protection from the sun.
• Sunscreen is not recommended for babies less than 6 months of age — shade, clothing and hats are best.
• Babies older than 6 months should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer when the sun is at its strongest. If you go out when it’s hot, attach a parasol or sunshade to your pram or stroller to keep them out of direct sunlight.
• For babies older than 6 months, apply a high factor sunscreen to your baby’s skin. Many brands produce sunscreen specifically for babies and young children with a sun protection factor (SPF) as high as 30+. Apply sunscreen regularly, particularly if your baby is in and out of the sea or paddling pool.
• Always test the sunscreen on a small area of your baby’s skin to check for any skin reactions.
• Cover your baby’s body, arms and legs with clothing, and make sure you put a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun.
Look out for these warning signs
Babies and young children should be watched carefully during hot weather. They can quickly lose body fluids through perspiring, which can lead to dehydration. They need to drink regularly, wear light clothing and be kept cool. Babies and young children may not show early signs and symptoms of the effects of heat. They may just look unwell or be more irritable than usual. Babies may seem floppy, have drier skin, and refuse to drink, or have fewer wet nappies than usual. The soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanelle) may also be lower than usual.
Keep your baby hydrated
Along with keeping your baby cool and in the shade, you will also need to keep them hydrated. If you are breastfeeding your baby, there is no need to give them extra water. You should find they want to feed more regularly to stay hydrated. According to sources, bottle-fed babies can have a little cooled boiled water to help keep them hydrated on hot days, as can babies that are being weaned.