How to keep babies cool in a heatwave

Parts of England are set for some exceptionally hot weather this weekend, with temperatures forecast to reach highs of 37 degrees.

This has led to the Met Office issuing amber alert health warnings across the south, southeast, and southwest of England.

Though many might be excited about catching some rays, anyone with babies knows that hot weather can be challenging for them.

Here’s how to keep babies cool during a heatwave, and how to keep them safe in the sun…

Keeping your baby safe from sunlight

According to the NHS, babies younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Their skin doesn’t contain enough melanin for it be protected from the sun.

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The NHS adds that babies older than 6 months should still be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly if it’s excessively hot – like this weekend’s forecast heatwave – and between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.

If you go out when it’s hot, attach an umbrella, parasol or other type of sunshade to your baby’s pram to keep them out of direct sunlight.

You must also apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and check that the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

If your child is older and will be playing, make sure to apply the suncream regularly.

How to keep babies from dehydrating – should babies be given water?

If your baby is younger than 6 months old, water might not be the best thing for them.

Fully breastfed babies do not need any water until they’ve started eating solids.

During hot weather 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.

Between 6 and 12 months, once you have started to introduce solid foods, you can offer your baby sips of water from a cup or beaker with meals.

Breastmilk or infant formula should be their main drinks during the first year.

For older children, water should be their main drink during hot weather.

You can also give them frozen lollies made from plain water or from very diluted fruit juice to help keep them hydrated.

Keeping your baby and babies room cool in a heatwave

As well as keeping them out of the sun, you’ll need to keep their temperatures down.

One way of doing this if you have a garden is to get out a paddling pool and keep it in a shaded area.

The NHS states that a baby will sleep best when their room is between 16 and 20 degrees, so for a good night sleep for the both of you, keep the blinds drawn during the day to keep the sun out.

Consider using a fan to keep the room cool – and the cost of running a fan might not be as high as you’d think.

Keep bedclothes to a minimum during hot weather – if your baby is fussing and kicking the covers off them, you can put them in just a nappy with a well-secured sheet that will not come loose and cover their face or get tangled.

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