Our 6 best tips for keeping infants and children cool in the hot weather

With the unexpected heat wave rolling into the country, a lot of us have been caught unprepared for intense heat. While we’re rushing to pick up some more SPF, dust off the garden furniture and dig out our bikinis, we also have to consider how we’re going to protect our baby in this weather.

Children and especially infants are at major risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunburn during weather like this. Their skin is more sensitive and doesn’t handle sun well and they can’t yet tell us when they’re too hot or dehydrated – so it’s up to us to keep them cool this summer with these tips and tricks.

Paddling pool

girl in blue and white floral bikini in swimming pool

A classic for a reason, the paddling pool is a very handy solution for young children and newborns in the heat. Fill the pool with cool water – not too cold – and keep it in the shade so you don’t have to worry about the kids burning while they splash around. If you can’t get your hands on a paddling pool, a bath tub works just as well for babies. Be sure to supervise them at all times.

Sponge bath

Person Holding White Tissue Paper

Another great idea for hot days is cooling baby down with a cold sponge bath. If you’re on the go and can’t lug a paddling pool or tub around with you, simply carrying a sponge in your nappy bag gives you an easy, portable option to keep baby’s temperature regulated.

Cool bath before bedtime

child lifting water dipper

Bedtime can be the hardest during a heatwave, because the entire day’s heat has built up in the house and it feels impossible to cool it down. A cool bath can really help take all the heat built up in the body down to a manageable level that helps when a bedroom is too warm. Be sure to open the windows and close the blinds to block out sunlight during the day but keep windows open to create cross breezes that can really air out a humid room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C and 20C. 

Light layers

From above of cute cotton suits bibs socks and hats for little babies on gray bedspread on bed at home on daytime on gray

How you dress your baby is key in hot weather. Using layerable clothing that is light and easily removed will make things easier for when you’re sponging them down or letting them paddle. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are great for this kind of weather because they’re breathable and won’t be tight or irritating in heat. Wide-brimmed hats are also key for this kind of weather to keep baby in the shade and protect their scalps from the sun. Layers and shade are a good alternative to suncream if you’re not comfortable using the baby-friendly suncreams on your child.

Timing is everything

Winding Road Photography

Keep an eye on the times that you and baby are venturing out into the sun at. Staying out of the day’s hottest hours will be a massive help to keep baby cooler, so early morning and kater evening are the best times to head out. While noon has the reputation for being the strongest sun, it’s usually between 3pm and 4pm that the day is at it’s hottest due to the build up of several hours of heat.

Use food to cool down

Person Holding Sliced Watermelon on White Ceramic Plate

Depending on what stage of weaning your baby is at, you ca use cold or frozen foods to help cool them down. Sucking on frozen fruit slices like de-seeded watermelon can also help with teething which is a handy bonus point!

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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