Don’t let baby get too hot

Mothers have every reason to worry about their baby’s wellbeing in the summer heat since babies and young children are naturally more fragile and less resistant to heat than adults. But how can you know if you have taken the necessary precautions to make sure they don’t get too hot?

Better safe than sorry

Children should drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated. You can also offer them an extra quantity of fruit and vegetables because they have a higher content of water (for babies, you can use cute fruit nets in which you can put frozen fruit they can safely suck on like a Popsicle).

Always check weather forecasts and local alerts to know when you should take extra precautions. Try to have your baby in loose light colored clothing and find a nice little hat with a large brim to protect their face from sunlight. Try to remain in the shade where it’s cooler. If you see your baby starting to have little red cheeks or exhibiting any sign of discomfort, you can refresh them with a quick dip in the pool or take a shower or bath with lukewarm water. If you’re inside, look for a cool or air conditioned room.

If you don’t have air conditioning, you can place a bowl of ice in front of a fan which will nicely cool the air that is blowing through and therefore help make the room colder a little bit faster than normal.

Remember to consider drastic temperature changes when moving from outside to inside like when you go shopping at a mall or go to the movies. Always be prepared by bringing a small blanket and a change of clothing you can use as needed. If you’re unsure, consider this little trick that has served me well often: If you’re too hot, or too cold, it should be the same for your baby. By staying on the lookout for signs that your baby sends you, you can react accordingly.

IMPORTANT: Never leave a baby or a small child alone in a car or a poorly ventilated room.

Symptoms to watch for

If you notice that your baby’s behavior is changing, that they are becoming drowsy or having a tantrum, they are slightly confused or has nausea and even vomiting, they might be developing the symptoms of a heat-related illness such as heat stroke, exhaustion due to heat, heat edema or a heat rash.

Other symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Accelerated breathing or heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Less frequent urination and darker urine
  • Dry skin, lips and mouth
  • Strange coloring of the skin: pale or red.
  • Higher body temperature
  • Diarrhea
Heat strokes are a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if your child’s body temperature is high, they are unconscious, confused or sweating profusely.

First Aid: What you should do

If you notice your child is beginning to suffer from extreme heat or is developing these symptoms, move them immediately to a cooler area and rehydrate them rapidly, preferably with water. If you are breastfeeding, breast milk will give them all the hydration they need, but don’t forget to refresh yourself as well in order to produce enough milk. You can also try to relieve them by applying cold compresses on their face and their skin to help regulate their temperature.

Sources: Health Canada, ministry of Health and Social services of Quebec

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