Heat and hot weather can be dangerous to your newborn. Babies and children up to 4 years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The temperature-regulating systems in babies isn't fully developed, so they can become overheated faster than adults and become susceptible to hyperthermia -- a high body temperature that can be life-threatening. If you're in a hot climate, learning how to protect your newborn from the extreme heat can help reduce the risk of illness.
1 Keep newborns out of direct sunlight in the hot climate. Your baby has thin, fragile skin that hasn't yet developed natural protection from the sun, so it can become damaged very quickly. If she needs to be in the sun, apply a small amount of sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 on small areas, such as her face, cheeks and the backs of her hands, recommends WebMD. Check for any allergic reactions and sensitivity by applying a small amount of the chosen sunscreen on your baby's wrist the day before the outing. If a rash or skin irritation develops, seek a milder hypoallergenic sunscreen that doesn't cause a skin reaction.
2 Help your little one remain cool in the hot climate by dressing her in loose light-weight and light-colored clothing, but keep her legs and arms covered if she's outside, according to the Women's and Children's Health Network. Look for clothing made out of natural fibers such as cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. Provide her with a a wide-brimmed hat to shield her face from the sun and sunglasses to protect her eyes. Avoid leaving her more uncovered on cloudy days, because dangerous rays can still penetrate the clouds and burn her sensitive skin.
3 Keep your newborn in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. The best protection against heat-related illness is air conditioning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fans don't provide enough protection from heat-related illness when the temperature reaches the 90s. Choose the coolest place in your home for the baby to sleep in. Remove any liners or padding from the crib so more air can circulate around her body. If you don't have an air-conditioner, cover her body with damp, cool cloths. Wrap damp, cool sheets or towels around the crib to help cool the air. Check on her periodically to make sure she's not becoming too cold.
4 Plan outdoor activities before and after the hottest part of the day, which is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., advises dermatologist Eric Siegel as cited on Parents.com. The sun has the greatest potential to do the most skin damage during those hours. If you need to travel during that time, keep your newborn in the shady part of the car to prevent overheating and sunburn -- her sensitive skin can still burn in sunlight that passes through automobile windows.
Items you will need
- Light-weight clothing
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Towels or sheets
- Provide your newborn with extra fluids if you're outdoors in hot climates. Replace lost liquids by nursing more often or giving him additional formula, accoording to Parents.com.
- Never leave your newborn alone in a parked car. Even a few minutes could cause his body temperature to rise and be potentially life-threatening.
- Women's and Children's Health Network: Babies and Hot Weather
- The Huffington Post: Keep Your Baby Safe in the Heat: 4 Essential Tips
- Parents: Making Your Baby Comfortable in the Summer Heat
- Government of Western Australia Department of Health: Heat Wave: Caring for Babies and Young Children
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat
- WebMD: 4 Tips for Baby Skin Care
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
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