The irony I know as I write this is that the weather is finally starting to cool down! However, being seven months pregnant and not being a sun seeker at the best of times alongside a toddler who is struggling so much to sleep or do anything in the heat last week, it is something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about!
As we know the sun and heat will come back at some point, I thought it would be useful to outline some hints and tips to help you look after babies and young children in this weather. (Save this blog for a summers’ day – I am hoping you will thank me for it then!)
Let’s tackle babies first and the challenges around them. The hardest thing about heat with a baby is that they can’t self-regulate their own body temperature until they are about 18 months old. This means we need to do it for them. This can be really hard when we are struggling to get room temperatures down or doing our everyday tasks, but here are a few things to think about and ideas to help you out:
- Keep babies out of direct sunlight. We shouldn’t put sun cream on their delicate skin until they are 6 months old because they shouldn’t be in direct sunlight at all until this age (after this age it should be minimal).
- Don’t cover a babies’ pram or buggy with a blanket or cloth as this prevents air from circulating and can make it become a greenhouse underneath the covering. Instead you should ideally use a parasol or clip on sunshade.
- Make sure your baby is staying hydrated. Breastfed babies don’t need any extra water until they start eating solids but may want to feed more often than usual. Bottle fed babies should have their usual milk and then also some cooled boiled water.
- In the room the baby sleeps in you can use a fan but don’t have it pointed directly at them. Use light bedding and clothing and open the bedroom door to let air circulate.
- Check your babies’ temperature regularly. Do this by placing your hand on their chest or the back of their neck. Your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal.
Once your baby is over the age of 18months they can start to regulate their own body temperature but they will still need your help as they don’ really understand the concept of feeling too hot.
- Put suncream on every area of their body that might catch the sun from first thing in the morning. You should ideally apply it every two hours and more if they are in and out of the paddling pool.
- If your child is enjoying running around in the sunshine make sure they take regular breaks in the shade.
- Keep them hydrated. Drinking little and often from a water bottle will really help.
- If you have a paddling pool, or somewhere they can play in water, always watch them. Unfortunately, it just takes a few seconds for a child to drown in water so watching them is a must.
- Before bed run a cool bath for them to help get to a good temperature before sleep time.
We all want the house cooler in the hot weather so have a think about your windows and curtains. Ideally you should shut all windows and curtains to prevent the heat getting in throughout the day. This sounds weird but it really can make a difference.
If you are planning on running through sprinklers or turning the hose on each other, make sure to let it run for a few minutes first. There is always a bit of residue water in the pipes before you use them and this heats up to really hot temperatures when the sun is out shining on the hose. It has been known to give blistering burns on children when used straight away so don’t take the risk.
Think of yourself as a car. When you are driving down the motorway and your car temperature gauge starts to go up……what do you do?? Do you pull over to the side of the road (and rest)? Do you let your car and engine cool down? Do you fill up the radiator with water? If you do all these things, normally, you can carry on your way once the car has recovered. This is like us and heat exhaustion!
My next (and last before maternity leave) online family first aid course is running on Wednesday 26th August at 10am where we will be talking all things basic first aid. If you would like to join this course click this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-family-first-aid-course-tickets-114984949078 or to discuss joining or organising another course in the future please pop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.