Is summer approaching and you’re afraid you’re going to be on lockdown? You don’t have to be. You can get your vitamin D fix by keeping your baby cool in a stroller.
That way, you and your little one can make the most of balmy spring and summer days.
Yes, it’s important that babies don’t overheat or get a sunburn, but there are things you can do to avoid this.
Tips for Keeping Baby Cool
Here are some ways to make sure baby stays cool and enjoys some fresh air. You may want to go outside during the coolest times of the day- early morning and late afternoon. Avoid peek sun time from 10 am to 2 pm in the day.
1. Provide a Shady Haven
Strollers generally come with some sort of canopy, but these can be lacking when it comes to providing full shade from the sun. Invest in a cover that will fit your stroller, protecting your baby from harsh UV rays and keeping them cool.
These types of covers can shield your little one from up to 99 percent of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This is important as sunburn is often thought to lead to a greater risk of skin cancer later in life (1).
Many of these covers are made from a material that is lightweight, letting air get to your child.
The extended coverage of these canopies, like this one from Summer Infant, makes sure no sun gets in, no matter what time of day. They are generally suitable for most brands of strollers and are quick and easy to attach.
They can also be water repellent, doubling up as a rain cover. Some even have storage pockets, which are handy for keeping extra hydrating drinks on board.
Don’t be tempted to use a blanket, even a muslin one, draped over the stroller to provide shade. This can be dangerous as the temperature inside the stroller will rise.
2. Sensible Clothing
Babies and young children are still developing, and so they can’t regulate their body temperature easily. They tend to conserve more heat, which can lead to overheating (2).
Lightweight, loose cotton clothing that covers their arms and legs are good items to pick (3). The cotton is breathable and will wick moisture away from their skin, helping them lose some of that heat.
Another fabric that is becoming increasingly popular is bamboo. It absorbs sweat from the skin, but unlike cotton, doesn’t retain it. The moisture is released from the fabric so it can evaporate (4).
Lighter colors are also preferable as they reflect light more than darker colors do.
One final consideration in the clothing sector is how useful a hat is. One with a broad rim and that covers the neck and ears is ideal.
A popular choice is this one from i play. It gives good coverage and ties under the chin. This helps keep the hat on, but unlike elastic strings, won’t interfere with circulation.
3. Keep the Fluids Flowing
Dehydration is a major consideration when the temperature gauge rises. If your baby is not getting enough fluids it can be dangerous for them (5). They will lose moisture through sweating so increasing fluid intake is a must.
Breastfed babies get all the hydration they need from your milk (6). Increasing the amount you breastfeed your little one when it’s hot will help prevent dehydration.
Formula-fed babies will need to have extra formula, Babies over the age of 6 months may need extra water. However, do not give more than a 4 oz bottle of extra water.
You can monitor whether your baby is getting dehydrated by checking how many wet diapers they have compared to normal. Stronger smelling, dark-colored urine is also a sign they might not be getting enough fluids (7).
4. Get a Stroller Seat Liner
While you might think this would make baby hotter and is just for use in colder times, it’s not the case. Many stroller seat liners, like this one from Ecotyl, are designed to wick moisture and keep baby cool and comfortable.
Some liners are made from breathable fabrics and have absorbent cushioning. This will prevent overheating and sweating. Quick and easy to install, a liner is a good accessory for summer strolls.
Some stroller liners are filled with a gel designed to keep baby cool. They work by dissipating the heat away from the skin.
Although they don’t actually need it, you could refrigerate the liners for a few minutes before use to add a cooling effect.
5. Circulate Air With a Stroller Fan
We all appreciate having a fan on us when the weather gets steamy and hot. Why not get baby their own personal fan that can be attached to their stroller? They tend to be battery operated and can be fitted to the stroller.
One of our favorites is this one from Comlife. It has a strong clip that attaches quickly and easily to your stroller. As well as the cooling from an oscillating fan, the baby will love the white noise or watching the movement.
The bonus of a stroller fan is you can also use it indoors. Set it up to circulate air in the nursery, keeping baby cool during daytime naps or balmy summer nights.
6. Increase Airflow by Removing Back Panel
Some strollers have a removable back panel. Taking this off can help increase the flow of air around the baby and keep them cooler.
7. Homemade Cooling Systems
You have a few options for a homemade solution:
- Used water bottles.
- Cooler packs.
- Wet towels.
- Fill water bottles to about two-thirds with water.
- Wrap them in a towel and place them in the side of the stroller.
- Make sure little one can’t unscrew the cap. This could be a choking hazard.
Simply place cooler packs, or pads, under a cushion in the stroller.
Wipe baby down with the towel. As the air hits their wet skin it will refresh and cool them.
How To Tell If Baby Is Overheating
Here are some signs you can look out for that might indicate that your baby is getting too hot:
- The face might be flushed and red.
- Skin feels drier than usual to the touch.
- Less wet diapers than usual.
- More irritable than usual or feels floppy and is lethargic.
- Refusing to drink.
- The fontanelle (soft spot on the top of the head) appears sunken.
If you suspect baby is overheating, with or without any of these symptoms, get some medical advice (8).
Some Do’s and Don’ts
We have already mentioned this, but it’s an important point: Don’t use a blanket to shade a stroller. While it might keep the sun off, it will also keep the heat in and lead to baby getting too hot.
Don’t go out in the midday sun. Try to time your trips for when it’s cooler in the morning or the afternoon.
Do walk in the shade whenever you can or find a shady spot if you decide to stop. Look for a tree with overhanging branches in a park, or find the shade of a large building if you’re in the city.
Time to Hit the Outdoors
There are many ways of keeping baby cool in a stroller. There’s no need to create cabin fever for yourself. You can still enjoy the summer months and make the most of going out with your little one.
Just remember to use shade and keep air flowing through the stroller.
Hydration is key. This is the case at any time, so make sure your baby is drinking plenty. A happy baby will mean a happy parent.