Whether you spend it inside or in the great outdoors, when it's hot, like this time of the year, it takes some tricks to keep an infant safe and comfortable. Overdress a baby and he or she could develop an angry heat rash; expose his or her fragile body to hot conditions could lead to a painful, damaging sunburn or heatstroke, a serious affliction characterized by a high fever and rapid breathing.
It is important to note that overheating has also been linked to sudden infant death syndrome, a fatal sleeping disorder. To make sure your little one stays cool and protected during the long, hot days here is some advice.
If you're going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight garments, preferably made from a natural fiber like cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics.
A good rule to follow is: dress the baby the way you're dressed. If you're wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for the baby too.
For the outdoors, dress the baby in light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to shield his or her face.
Since a baby doesn't perspire effectively, he or she can become overheated far more quickly than an adult, hence why a baby should never be left in a hot room or a parked car. Even a few minutes could cause the baby's temperature to spike and, in extreme cases, may prove life-threatening.
Even if you don't see beads of sweat dripping from your infant's forehead, he or she can be losing precious fluids to perspiration in hot weather. A flushed face, skin that's warm to the touch, rapid breathing, and restlessness may be warning signs of dehydration. Since infants under 6 months shouldn't drink water (babies over 6 months can take in modest amounts), replace the lost liquids by giving your baby extra formula by nursing more frequently. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the hot days.
The worst time for your baby and you, for that matter to be outdoors, is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun does the most harm to skin.
If an infant sweats profusely during hot, humid weather, tiny red bumps may start to cluster on her neck, in the folds of her skin at the back of the knees, or in the crease of elbows. To relieve heat rash, remove sticky outfit and dress the baby in loose cotton clothes or simply a diaper which is practiced here in Belize. It is also important to apply cornstarch baby powder to the affected areas. Keeping the baby in a cool, well-ventilated room will help relieve symptoms.
Many mothers use a lot of talcum powder on their babies after a bath, thinking that this will keep their babies cool. Powder on wet skin can cake up and cause irritation and discomfort. So it's best to limit its use, especially near the nappy and neck.