Because babies are less capable of regulating their temperature, hot weather can quickly overcome your baby resulting in overheating and possible dehydration.
How can I protect her from the heat?
- If you are feeling uncomfortable in the heat, your baby will be too.
- You may need to offer your baby extra fluids (in the form of water or breastfeeds) during hot weather.
- Use a fan to keep the air in your baby’s room moving – don’t point the fan directly at her though. To cool the air, you can wet a towel and put it in front of the fan.
- If your home has air-conditioning, ensure that your baby does not become too cold – her room temperature should be comfortable at around 24 degrees.
- If your baby is very hot, she may enjoy a tepid bath – don’t use cold water though, as this can be too shocking for her system.
- If the weather is warm, just dress her lightly – a nappy and singlet will be enough, and keep her covered with a sheet while she sleeps.
- When you take your baby outside in hot weather, make sure that her arms and legs are covered to avoid the possibility of sunburn.
- If possible, avoid travelling in the car during the heat of the day.
Never leave your baby alone in the car – a car’s interior can heat up very quickly when the windows are wound up and she will overheat very quickly which can be potentially fatal.
- Prickly heat is a rash of tiny little red spots with little blisters that occurs during hot weather.
- Prickly heat is most commonly found on the parts of the skin that are often not dry – under the arms, under the chin, in the nappy area, on the backs of the knees.
- You can use barrier creams such as zinc cream (the same cream you may use to protect the nappy area from nappy rash) on areas that are prone to the prickly heat rash.
- Tepid baths may help control prickly heat, but it is essential that you thoroughly dry your baby’s skin afterwards.
Babies in the sun:
- Your baby’s skin will get damaged and burn easily in the sun, as her skin is thin and doesn’t yet have much natural protection.
- In New Zealand, your baby will receive all the sunlight she needs for healthy development from reflected light. If you want to spend time with her outdoors, ensure that she is suitably covered at all times and in the shade or undercover.
If you must take your baby out in the sun:
- Always have your baby shaded – you can use a sheet of wrap over her pram to protect her.
- Ensure that all exposed skin is covered, either by clothing or with the shade cast by a wide brimmed hat.
- Protect the parts of your baby’s skin that can’t be covered – face, neck, hands – with sunscreen.
- Choose a 30+ broad spectrum hypoallergenic sunscreen that is suitable for young children.