Summer heat can be stressful for babies. They cannot tell you when they are hot, sweaty, or thirsty. They cannot remove excess clothing, move to a cooler spot or ask you to open a window. It is a parent’s responsibility to constantly monitor the child’s well-being and comfort level.
The baby should follow his normal routine in summer and eat his usual meals. However, he should be offered extra drinks of cool water because he may sweat more than usual.
Excessive perspiration can lead to heat rash and dehydration. This latter condition may result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, either of which are dangerous for little ones.
It is also important that a baby continues to sleep soundly for the required number of hours each night. Here are some tips which will help him maintain a normal sleep pattern during oppressive summer heat:
* Keep drapes and curtains closed during the day, to keep the home as cool as possible.
* If there are bumpers around the edge of the baby’s crib, remove them to enable the air to circulate more freely.
* A thin cotton sheet makes the best mattress cover.
* If there is a waterproof rubber or plastic covering on the mattress, consider removing it during a hot spell. In a warm room, these substances increase a baby’s tendency to sweat.
* After sunset, open several windows to allow any breeze to pass through the house, but it should not blow right on the baby.
* Fans are helpful to move the air, but they should not be aimed directly at the sleeping child. If the room is very warm, hang a wet towel over a chair or fan, or near a widow. As the water evaporates, it will cool the air.
* A tepid bath at bedtime will cool the baby’s skin and relax him.
* Don’t overdress him. If you are wearing shorts and a top, the baby will be comfortable in an undershirt and diaper. Dress him in the same type of clothing in which you feel comfortable.
* If you have air conditioning, the temperature should be set between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Heat rash, tiny red spots, may appear on the baby’s neck or groin area, or anywhere the skin folds and sweat forms. To relieve heat rash, dress the baby in loose cotton clothing, or just leave him in a napkin and let the air circulate around him. Apply corn starch powder, or zinc ointment to the affected areas. Giving him frequent lukewarm baths and changing his clothes often will also be helpful.
Summer should be a pleasant, relaxing time for the entire family. With a little extra thought and care, your baby can be happy, healthy and well-rested every day from June to September. His sunny presence will add joy and fun to every one’s warm weather activities.