Summer Safety Tips for Infants and Toddlers
The weather’s getting warmer and you can see the first signs of summer ahead. It’s time to enjoy the sunshine. You can hardly wait to sit outside with the newest member of your family so you can both enjoy all the great outdoors has to offer. Good plan, but don’t forget about the importance of keeping your little one safe. An infant isn’t as well-equipped to brave the summer sun as adults are, so you’ll need to take special precautions for your baby’s safety. Here are some summer safety tips to help you and your baby safely enjoy the outdoors together this summer.
Have you ever experienced a bad sunburn? Infants are even more susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays. Did you know that babies and children who get a significant sunburn double their risk for a serious form of skin cancer called melanoma as adults? Don’t take that chance. Sun exposure is permanent and cumulative, and babies are more susceptible to sun damage since their skin has less pigment to protect it.
What’s the best way to protect a baby’s delicate skin from the sun? If your baby is at least six months old, doctors recommend applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater to protect them. Don’t use sunscreens or sunblocks on babies less than six months old. The chemicals in some sunscreens may be too irritating for their skin.
Instead, dress them in light-weight, light-colored sun protective clothing and a hat, and keep them in the shade. Schedule outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are less intense. For babies over six months, choose a mineral-based sunscreen like Neutrogena Pure & Free Sunscreen, Baby, Broad Spectrum SPF 60+. Because it’s mineral-based, it doesn’t have harsh chemicals that can irritate a baby’s skin.
Babies are more prone to dehydration and heat illness because they don’t sweat as effectively as adults. That’s why it’s important to keep them well-hydrated in warm weather. If your baby is under six months old, they need more breast milk or formula during warm weather to stay hydrated. Don’t give your baby water before she’s six months old. Infants over six months need extra water or diluted fruit juice to keep them hydrated when it’s hot outside.
Dress your little one in loose, but not sheer, clothing that “breathes” in a light color along with a hat and keep them in the shade when it’s hot outside. Watch for early signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion – restlessness, irritability, crying, pale skin, dry lips, sunken eyes or rapid breathing. Urinating less often is also a sign of dehydration. Take these signs seriously. If you suspect dehydration, give them a cool bath and breast milk, formula or water, if they’re over six months old, to re-hydrate.
Don’t forget about the dangers of keeping a baby in a car during the summer. Don’t do it for even a few minutes – even if the windows are open. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly and reach temperatures high enough to sicken or kill an infant. Don’t take that risk. When you travel, protect your baby from the sun’s rays with Dream Baby Car Window Shade. It’s easy to install and also blocks glare that can irritate your baby’s eyes.
Other summer safety tips
It’s also important to protect infants from ticks and mosquitos that carry disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend using insect repellant on infants less than two months of age. Instead, drape their carrier with mosquito netting that fits snuggly during mosquito season. It’s okay to use an insect repellant on older infants but choose one that has a concentration of DEET of no more than 10 percent, and don’t apply it over cuts or areas of skin irritation or redness.