Infants and young children can become sick during extremely warm weather. Their health can be seriously affected by health conditions such as dehydration, sunburn and heat-illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. There are several measures that must be observed to keep a child healthy and happy during warm weather.
Protection from the sun
Infants less than 6 months old must stay out of direct sunlight. Take note that their skin contains minimal melanin which is the pigment that provides hair, skin and eyes their color as well as providing some protection from the sun.
The older infants must stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially in the summer season and between 11AM – 3 PM when the sun is at its strongest. When spending time outdoors, attach a sunshade or parasol on the pushchair to avoid exposure to sunlight.
Always apply a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Check if the product used also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The suitable options are those specifically for babies and young children since these are less likely to include additives that can irritate the skin. The sunscreen must be applied regularly, especially if the child is in and out of the sea or pool.
Make sure that the child wears a sunhat that has a wide brim or long flap at the back to protect the head and neck from sun exposure.
How to prevent dehydration
Infants and young children should be given plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration from setting in.
- If an infant is breastfed, you no longer need to provide water or breast milk. Just make sure that the infant is breastfed more than usual.
- If the infant is bottle-fed, provide him/her with cooled boiled water throughout the day. In case the child wakes up at night, he/she probably wants milk.
For infants over 6 months old that are uninterested with water, you can prepare a mixture of adulterated fruit juice or homemade fruit juice popsicles during the day. As for older children, provide them with plenty of fruits and salads to keep the level of fluids up.
There are several tips to bear in mind to keep infants and young children safe and cool during warm weather.
- Allowing the child to play in a paddling pool is a good way to keep infants and children cool. You should position the pool in a shaded area during very warm climate and oversee the child cautiously at all times.
- Give the child a cool shower or bath before going to bed.
- The bedroom of the child must be cool during the day by closing the curtains or blinds. You can also utilize a fan to circulate the air inside the room.
- The sleeping clothes used should be kept to a minimum. If the infants wears kicks or pushes off the blankets at night, it is best to simply put them in a nappy with a single properly secured sheet that will not loosen and cover the face or get entangled at night time.
- A thermometer in the room can help monitor the temperature in the room of the infant. The infant will sleep most comfortably if the temperature is between 16-20 degrees C.