What To Do With Your Baby When It’s Hot Outside

During the hottest days of summer, it can be a challenge to stay cool as an adult. And little ones are no different!

The heat of summer sun can be glorious for adults, but with a little one in tow, it's important to prioritize safety. Babies are more susceptible to heat than adults, so staying cool and comfortable is crucial. 

What's "Too Hot" for Babies?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), any weather with a heat index of 90°F (32°C) or higher is considered too hot for babies. Their little bodies can't regulate temperature as well as adults and they sweat less, making them more prone to overheating. 

At this stage in their development, babies also can’t tell you with words if they’re too hot, Keeping your baby out of direct sunlight under 6-months old is the best way to protect their skin and eyes from UV rays, keeping them as cool and happy as possible.

How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer

Sun and heat protection begins before you even head outside. With these simple precautions, you’ll keep your baby cool and safe in the summer.

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Since sunscreen isn't recommended for babies under six months, the best protection is staying out of direct sunlight. That means both indoors and outdoors. Make sure your baby wears a wide-brimmed hat. Always seek shade outdoors. Use a stroller with an umbrella attachment and install car window shades to shield your little one from the sun's rays.
  • Check the Weather Report: Before you head outside, check to see what the temperature is. If it’s above 90°F (32°C), stay in the air conditioning. 
  • Plan Your Day: Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are typically the hottest. However, check out your local weather trends and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Plan activities indoors during peak hours.
  • Stay Inside: If your area is anticipating or experiencing extreme heat or heat waves, stay indoors in the air conditioning as much as possible. Need to get out of the house? Head to your local library, an indoor mall, a friend’s house for a playdate, or other public places that are sure to have proper cooling and air conditioning.
  • Start Slowly: Introduce your baby to the outdoors gradually, with short bursts of playtime followed by breaks inside. Take breaks every 15-30 minutes to give your baby time to cool down.
  • Pay Close Attention: Is your baby fussy? Do they seem uncomfortable? What is their response to heat? Are their cheeks flushed pink or red? Do they feel warm to the touch? Err on the side of caution and if they aren’t enjoying the weather, head indoors.
  • Dress Lightly: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen for your baby (and you too, for that matter!). Opt for light colors, as they reflect more sunlight, and thus heat, than dark ones. Dress your baby appropriately for your environment and don’t add more than one extra layer than you would wear, either for night or day.
  • Sunglasses for Babies: Start protecting your child’s eyes early. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends sunglasses certified to block 99% of UVA/UVB rays are necessary for children and should be worn properly covering both eyes for adequate protection at 6-months of age. 

It’s always best to check with your pediatrician about best practices for enjoying hot weather with your baby. Your doctor will have the most up-to-date information and be able to answer any of your questions. Furthermore, your pediatrician is located where you are, better equipping them to make recommendations based on your region’s climate.

5 Things to Do with an Infant in the Summer Outdoors

  1. A Pool for Your Kiddie: Set up a baby pool in the shade in your yard. Your baby will love the sensory experience of splashing and playing in the water. Some kiddie pools are rated for babies as young as 6 months if the child is able to sit up without assistance. Remember to always be with your child in the water and pay attention to the manufacturer’s age recommendation on the product.
  2. DIY Ice Play: Freeze water in different shapes and containers for an engaging sensory activity. Let your baby explore the textures and temperatures as the ice melts.
  3. Morning or Evening Strolls: Take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the early morning or late afternoon for a leisurely walk with your baby. A clip-on stroller fan can add an extra breeze.
  4. Have a Picnic: Take snack time outside or have breakfast in the cool of the morning. 
  5. Tummy Time on a Blanket: Take your softest blanket outside in the shade with a stack of high-contrast cards and let your baby strengthen those muscles! 

10 Things to Do with an Infant in the Summer Indoors

  1. Home Activities: Choose a card from your Happy Little People™ Card Deck: The First Year (0-12 Months), set up in no time using everyday items from around your house, and play together!
  2. Story Time Indoors: Cuddle up in an air-conditioned room on the couch and read together. Read aloud, point to pictures, and make funny voices to bring stories to life.
  3. Baby Yoga: Consider signing up for a baby yoga class. These activities can help your baby develop motor skills and provide a fun bonding experience. 
  4. Music and Movement: Put on some music and dance around the house with your baby. You can even create a DIY shaker with rice or beans in a sealed container. Some dance studios even have dance classes specifically for parents who want to dance with their baby in a carrier.
  5. Plan a Playdate: Ask a friend or family member to come over for an indoor playdate! It will change up your scenery, get you out of the house, and provide the opportunity for your child to see new faces.

Don't forget to keep yourself hydrated and cool too! Parenting in the heat can be tiring, so make sure you're taking care of yourself as well. Always keep sunscreen, cold water, a hat, and your sunglasses nearby. 

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