One question I get asked all the time in the hot summer months is how do I keep my baby cool during sleep? With the super sonic thermometer (you thought was once a good purchase) starts flashing red in the corner of your room, it can really start to stress you out.
We can’t control the weather, but we can do things to help keep our children cool (and you) in these hot summer months.
During the Day
So before you head out for the day, remember to close your curtains or black out blinds to help keep their bedrooms cool. Encourage plenty of water during the day to prevent dehydration and waking up frequently during their night sleep needing water.
If the weather is really too hot and its starting to make the kids irritable, take some time out in a local library. It’s a great educational activity and usually nice and cool.
Be sun safe
Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun.
Older children should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer and between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest.
Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to your baby’s skin. Make sure the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Using a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun is a great idea too.
During the bedtime routine, try an avoid hot baths. Keep the water lukewarm to avoid your child becoming too hot and irritable just before bed.
Remove unnecessary bedding from their cot. If your baby is wearing a nappy, vest and sleepsuit, they may only need a nappy and vest. If they still seem hot, it’s fine for them to just sleep in a nappy. If you co-sleep with your baby the same advice applies, but make sure your own bedding is well away from them at all times.
Try dressing toddlers and children in cotton PJ’s as they are cooler. You could also spray some lavender oil your child’s sheets or pillowcase can help induce sleep and keep the mozzies away.
Watch out for too much screen time
Make a conscious effort to avoid using “screen time” such as iPads and television one hour before going to bed. This is even more important on a hot night where kids may struggle even more to get to sleep.
You could try using a fan in your baby’s room before their bedtime. This will make the room nice and cool by the time you lie them down to sleep. But don’t allow the fan to face your baby at any time, and place it well away from their grasp. Make sure you turn the fan off before you put your baby down for sleep.
When it’s super, hot, hot
Hang wet towels over chairs or windows when it’s really stifling. The evaporating water will help the air to cool. Consider removing any waterproof sheets from your baby’s cot while the weather is hot.
If your baby falls asleep in the pram, keep an eye on them, as prams can soon become hot and airless. If your baby falls asleep in the car never leave them unsupervised. Even with the windows open, temperatures inside a parked car can rise frighteningly quickly.
Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- If you’re breastfeeding your baby, you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk. But they may want to breastfeed more than usual.
- If you’re bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby a little cooled boiled water. If your baby wakes at night, they’ll probably want milk. If they have had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well.
You can be creative when trying to keep your child hydrated. If they’re over 6 months old and get bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice with ice cubes. Or homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day.
For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.
And finally you need to rest in the heat
It is exhausting when you are so busy making sure the family are ok it’s easy to forget yourself. So, look after yourself as well. Keep hydrated. Even keep a hand help fan with you in your bag. Get rest where you can.
Make sure you are able to enjoy the most out of this lovely time of year. So get the paddling pool out with some yummy fresh homemade ice-lollies and don’t forget the sunscreen!