Summer is in full swing, you’ve got an infant and you want Baby and you to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather. Getting out of the house will improve both your and your baby’s physical and mental health, help produce vitamin D to improve bone health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
For these important benefits, try to be outside for at least an hour every day. New Canaan Pediatrics is here to help you enjoy the outdoors while protecting your baby from summer hazards.
What to Know about Heat & Sun
It is easy to forget that children, especially babies, process the heat in the summer differently than adults. Parents should take extra precautions to protect their children from summer weather:
- Avoid being outside when the sun is hottest, between the hours of 10am and 4pm
- Check the weather to make sure that the heat index is below 90°F
- Play in the shade as much as possible. It is recommended that babies under six months of age NOT be in direct sunlight.
- Dress your baby in cotton, lightweight clothes that cover as much of their skin as possible: long sleeve shirts, long sleeve pants, as well as brimmed hats and sunglasses to protect their eyes and face.
- Use sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays; typically described as protection against a “broad spectrum”
- infants Under Six Months of Age: Use only on small areas of the body, depending mostly on protective clothing and shade
- Babies Over Six Months of Age: Sunscreen can be applied to all areas of the body.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after getting out of the pool. Sunscreen needs 15 to 30 minutes after application to the skin to properly protect from the sun, so apply before you leave the house.
- Remember to take breaks from the heat and cool off indoors periodically throughout the day
What to Know About Fluids
When outdoors in summer, everyone should increase their water intake to ensure that bodies are getting enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Your baby cannot tell you when they are thirsty, so it is important to stick to their usual diet of breast milk or formula, which should produce at least six wet diapers a day. If your baby is wetting fewer diapers than that, along with showing signs of weakness, fatigue, not producing tears when crying, and loose stool, it could be mild dehydration.
It is not recommended to give babies under the age of six months old water, so encourage Baby to breast or bottle feed. If you suspect your baby has mild dehydration, call our office to discuss offering an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte.
Severe dehydration will have the same side effects, as well as sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, discolored feet and hands, and an extremely fussy and tired mood. If the dehydration becomes more severe, your baby may need emergency care to have fluids administered through an IV along with monitoring for serious side effects.
What to Know About Outings and Field Trips
When taking your baby out, always practice the safe summer guidelines we’ve just discussed and remember that the weather is not the only thing out there posing a risk to your child. Babies are still building their immune systems and are not fully vaccinated yet; please use caution when going into public spaces, especially as COVID-19 cases are again rising. When going on an outing with your baby, have alcohol-free disinfectant wipes at the ready to clean off dropped toys, pacifiers, and surfaces that your baby may touch with their hands – because hands go right into mouths! Do not be shy about telling strangers not to touch your baby, especially unfamiliar toddlers and children. Practice social distancing, keeping your baby at least 6 feet from other people. Avoid public indoor spaces altogether.
Use mosquito netting over strollers, play cribs or car seats to prevent insect bites and consider using a repellent containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, reapplying every two hours, for babies under 2 months of age. Repellents containing no more than 30% DEET can be used on older babies, applying to exposed skin just once a day.
NEVER leave your baby or child alone in the car, whether it’s running or turned off.
When the outside temperature is 80˚or higher, the temperature in your parked car can soar up to 170˚ in just minutes, even in the shade.
Simple precautions like sunscreen, lightweight and breathable clothing and plenty of fluids can help keep summer as fun as we’ve all imagined it would be during the cold winter. If you have any questions about summer outings, call our office at 203-972-4250. We’ll be happy to help!