We live in Southeast Alabama and it gets HOT. I’m talking hot hot. Extremely hot. The kind of hot that makes you cancel plans and walk right back indoors the second you step outside. And the humidity? Ruthless. The heat makes your body feel heavier, the sweat is instantaneous and don’t even get me started on the mosquitoes. In short, the summer can be miserable.
And that’s just you, babies are more susceptible to the heat as they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as we can. They don’t sweat as much to cool themselves and their body temperature rises far more quickly. So, it’s up to the parents to make the hot days manageable for them.
First, let’s talk about the vehicals
It goes without saying but, you should NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY IN THE VEHICAL. It can quickly become fatal. As we’re on the subject:
** This post is intended to provide you with items and information that I found useful. It is not intended to be used to determine if your child is overheated or otherwise neglect your own judgement. Contact your pediatrician with any questions you may have concerning your child. There are no “stupid” questions.
Sit in your car, in the back seat with the air on and determine whether or not the air is hotter back there. Do you have rear air vents? Neither mine, nor my husband’s car have rear air vents. (Hopefully, I will get another SUV soon that does!) My husband’s car has great air conditioning and it’s a smaller car so the air is still nice and cool in the back seat. However, with my son rear-facing, his body is directly in the sunlight. Getting the back windows slightly tinted helped to drastically reduce how much the sun beamed in. It also helped the car stay cooler in general.
My car is an SUV so the air doesn’t flow as nicely to the back seat passengers, but the good part is that the sun doesn’t shine on him. The air circulation issue was easily fixed with the use of car fans.
Portable fans are the most used item by us in the summer time. There’s so many types to choose from. For the car, the stroller or high chair or handheld use. We use them any time we’re outside. It makes a huge difference from just hot, stagnant air. Different kinds are either battery powered (which we use the most), some are rechargeable, and others can be plugged into the cigarette lighter in your car. There’s also handheld versions where you manually make the fan turn. I keep one of those in the diaper bag for times when either the batteries die or I forget another fan at home. (They’re also just fun for my son to play with.)
A must-have in any car, especially during the summer when the direct sunlight beams in, it only makes it hotter and hurts baby’s eyes. They’re quick to pop on and makes your little one way more comfortable.
Outdoor summer items
Other than fans, which can be used indoors and outdoors and almost anywhere needed, there’s a ton of items to help in the direct summer heat. The shade is the best and safest place for young children to be but if natural shade is unavailable, these items are perfect.
Stroller shade visors
You probably use these already and most strollers have them but I thought it was worth mentioning that using these are great on walks and clipping a small fan onto it to blow onto your baby is even more helpful.
There are many different ones that are perfect for wherever they’re needed. There are smaller ones to clip onto their chair or larger ones that cover more area.
We cannot go to the beach or lake without our son’s beach tent. I love this one because it unfolds and pops out into a tent immediately. No putting it together. And it folds up just as quickly and goes into a small carrying bag. It’s so light and compact! It stays in the car for whenever we need it. It’s great for keeping bugs and sun off of baby while they sit and play, snack, or nap. And it lets in all the breeze so it’s nice and breathable. I’ve squeezed into this tent many times at the beach to nurse him when he was a small baby and it was perfect for that.
People think that small babies need to be bundled up all the time to be warm but just like how they cannot warm themselves, they cannot cool themselves either. So, be just as cautious about them getting too warm in what they’re wearing. Dress them lightly on those hot summer days. A short sleeve, lightweight onsie is great. I dress my toddler son in lightweight, athletic clothes that help keep him cool.
Have you ever felt the sun beaming on the top of your head so intensely that it gets hot to the touch? Maybe it’s just my dark hair but nevertheless, the top of your baby’s head can get sunburned (them little ears too), so it’s a good idea to have a lightweight, breathable sunhat for your children when outside.
Sunglasses are good to have too, though I haven’t figured out a way that my son will wear them. He probably will like them more when he’s a bit older. Some kids love them, so it’s good to have a pair for them to wear if they will.
The right baby carrier
If you have a baby that is still in a baby carrier, on hot days, it’s wise to choose one that let’s in a good amount of air. A breathable carrier is great to counteract the body heat between you and baby.
Keep baby hydrated
The best way to keep your children safe in the heat of the summer is to keep them hydrated. They can quickly become dehydrated in hot weather. Plenty of water, popsicles (homemade ones are great), and fruits like watermelon are great options. For newborns and very young babies, breastmilk or formula may need to be offered more than usual to keep them hydrated. (My go-to, besides the beach tent, was always a cool-off break in the car where I could breastfeed with the air conditioner on.)
Other must-have items for summertime:
A high SPF sunblock is crucial for the delicate baby skin to prevent them from getting burned. Make sure to get the tops of the ears too!
I don’t know if I’ve made it clear just how bad the mosquitoes are here. And even worse is how bad of a reaction my son has to their bites.
These almost-invisible blood suckers seem to camp out right outside our door, waiting for my son and I to walk out so they can attack us. A good bug spray, buggy bands or clips, and maybe a citronella candle if we’re sitting outside for a while helps. Not just one of those things, all of those things combined are used to defend ourselves.
Extra Tips to Keeping Your Baby Cooler in the Summer
Get your car prepared ahead of time with sunshades, fans and anything else so that you’re ready when hot days strike.
Start your car a few minutes before putting your child in their seat so the car can cool off (works great in the winter to warm the car too). There’s a large wave of heat that hits me as soon as I open my car doors. The air in there is brutally hot, heavy and the seats are scorching. The metal on the buckles will literally, LITERALLY burn you if you touch them. Letting the heat out and starting the car before I put my son in his seat is the best solution.
Park in the shade! In the summer, the most fought-over parking spot is no longer near the door, it’s under the tree!
At night, dress light. Even at night, the air conditioner can’t seem to keep up, so dressing lightly at night too will keep baby more comfortable.
In conclusion, I hope that this summer treats you well and that you and your loved ones stay safe and have all of the fun that you hope to have!