A Guide to Keeping Babies Cool this Summer

Whilst summer brings plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy some quality family time in the sun, it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep your little ones safe and comfortable in the heat. As UK temperatures continue to rise this summer, parents should take care to ensure their children are safe and comfortable, as little ones are particularly vulnerable to the heat. Here at Direct4Baby, we recognise the importance of knowing exactly how to keep your baby or child cool in the sun, so we’ve compiled an informative guide on how best to remain vigilant, as well as answering some of the most common questions and concerns parents face when temperatures start to soar.

How do I keep my baby cool in the summer?

Protecting your little one from overheating in the sun may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s actually quite simple if parents remain careful. Here are some of our top tips and tricks for keeping your newborn or infant cool in a smart way. Enjoy the summer sun and stay safe with your child by following these five simple steps:
  • Avoid direct sunlight
Whatever your summer plans consist of, whether it’s a picnic in the park or a day by the beach, it’s important to keep your baby out of direct sunlight. Babies, in general, are not as adaptable to temperature change and struggle to regulate their temperature, meaning they are likely to feel the heat a lot more than adults. Try to pick a spot with a good amount of shade to keep your tots comfortable, or, if you’re walking around, invest in a solid, UV parasol for your buggy or stroller, to deflect the rays and keep the baby safe from overheating.
  • Dress your children appropriately
Cool, breathable fabrics such as organic cotton or linen are recommended materials for dressing your baby when it’s warm outside. Due to its natural properties, 100% cotton helps to regulate body temperature and keep your little one cool. Whilst parents may be tempted to layer up to keep arms, or legs, away from the sun - it’s important to remember to dress your baby lightly, as extra layers can get uncomfortable, particularly on a little one’s delicate skin. We would also recommend pairing your baby’s outfit with a comfortable hat, to prevent sun exposure to your little one’s face and back of the neck. Keep an eye out for labels such as UPF, or UVA/UVB protection when investing in a summer wardrobe for your baby, as these clothes have built-in sun protection and are an ideal investment.
  • Hydrate!
Whether you’re simply breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, keeping your little one hydrated in high temperatures is imperative. Keep a close eye on how many wet nappies your little one goes through during your day, if they start to slow - this likely means they are becoming dehydrated. Whilst it may be tempting to stick to a typical feeding routine, it’s recommended that parents should increase the amount of breastfeeding sessions, particularly if they appear to be dehydrated. Dehydration can quickly lead to sun exhaustion and babies can become very ill if this isn’t properly monitored. And whilst it pays to be mindful of how hydrated your little one is, ensure the whole family is drinking enough water in the sunshine!
  • Only use sunscreen when sun is unavoidable
There’s a common misconception that sunscreen is better for little one’s than covering up, and for babies under six months - this is simply not true. Due to the delicate nature of your little one’s thin, growing skin, sunscreen is not advised and keeping your little one directly out of sunlight and covered up are better recommendations. However, if this is completely unavoidable and your baby will be exposed to some sun, a thin layer of sunscreen should be applied to exposed areas.
  • Plan your trips around the hottest time of day
The hottest part of the day typically tends to be between ~10am to 3pm in the UK, so it’s best to try and organise plans around that particular time frame. Avoid being outside with your little one during these peak temperatures, as this is likely when UV rays are strongest and exposure to sun is at its most dangerous. Planning ahead and cleverly taking temperature times into consideration will keep your baby safe and comfortable, whilst offering parents peace of mind that their baby is protected against the hottest time of the day.

What happens if my baby gets too hot?

Hot weather can be very harmful to babies and young children, so knowing how to keep them cool and comfortable is vital. A change in temperature or prolonged exposure to heat can easily lead to sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, sun stroke and other more serious complications. Which is why it’s important that parents keep a watchful eye on their little ones, especially in the sun. Spotting signs of heat-related illness If you think your little one may be experiencing any heat-related symptoms, it’s important to act quickly and seek medical advice. There are a number of tell-tale signs parent’s should keep a watchful eye for. Symptoms such as your baby’s face turning red, fewer wet nappies, or they’re being a lot more irritable than usual are common signs of sun overexposure. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek a shaded area and take action immediately to cool down your little one. Avoid cooling your baby too quickly however, as this can cause symptoms of shock. If you wish to bathe them, use tepid water rather than cold as this could cause further burns to the skin.

Keeping babies cool at night

It’s one thing to make sure your baby is safe and comfortable throughout the day, but it’s equally important to take precautions on summer nights to prevent babies from overheating. Here are a few simple ways to ensure your little one has a peaceful night’s sleep, without the worry of discomfort. If your little one has an irregular sleeping routine and has regular naps through sunny periods of the day, consider investing in a Magic Blackout blind. These innovative blinds have the ability to mold to any window frame, without the need for sticky adhesives. Simply cut the magic blackout blind to shape, and press to the window, to block out sunshine and help cool down your little one’s room as they sleep.
  • Switch to summer-appropriate sleepwear
Investing in a number of lightweight, breathable sleepsuits or pyjamas for your baby will guarantee breathability through the night, to keep them cool in warmer temperatures. We would recommend investing in a 0.5 Tog sleeping bag, as this lightweight tog is designed specifically to keep babies cool but comfy. Take a look at our full collection of 0.5 Tog Sleeping Bags from Ergobaby online at Direct4Baby.
  • Use a fan to control room temperatures
During the night, turn on fans. Not only will it help keep your little one’s room cool and regulate the temperature, it will also help significantly reduce the risk of SIDS. Recent studies suggest that leaving a fan on whilst little one’s sleep can dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS, by up to 72%. Make sure the fan is placed away from your tot’s cot, so they aren’t able to reach it, but it’s pointing in the right direction so they’re able to feel the breeze.

Is it OK to sleep with a fan on my baby?

If you remain unsure about whether or not to let your baby sleep with a fan on, we would recommend investing in a reliable room thermometer to ensure your little one’s room is at a regular temperature that isn’t causing them any discomfort. The Purflo Starlight Colour Changing thermometer is a beautifully designed thermometer that helps parents maintain a safe sleeping environment, changing colour if the temperature isn’t in the recommended range. We would also suggest investing in the Owlet ‘Smart Sock’, that comfortably wraps around your baby’s foot as they sleep to monitor heart rate and oxygen levels. This sock offers parents peace of mind as their little one sleeps, as the sock syncs up to iPhone and Android devices, so you can keep an eye on your little one’s levels to ensure everything is okay. Particularly useful if you’ve had a significant amount of sun-exposure, as one of the tell-tale signs of sun-related illness is a faster heart rate. The Smart Sock has an alert system that will instantly notify parents if it spots anything that may be out of the ordinary in your little one’s routine.

Prepare for the sun at Direct4Baby

From safe, UV-approved parasols, to blackout blinds and more - be as prepared as you possibly could be for summer with our collection of baby products online at Direct4Baby.