As the warmer weather approaches (fingers crossed), and you head outdoors with your baby, follow these simple steps and you’ll keep him happy and healthy
1. Follow 3-Step Sun Protection
Slapping a bit of factor 15 on and your sunnies may be enough when you’re heading out, but your baby’s delicate skin needs more TLC. If you're taking your baby out into the sunshine this summer, there are three steps for protecting his skin. 'First step is sun avoidance,’ says Dr Caroline Gholam, a paediatric dermatologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. ‘If you can keep your baby indoors during the hours of 11am and 3pm, you'll miss the sun's most harmful rays.’ The second step is physical barriers – so block the sun with sunshades over prams, long-sleeved tops or special SPF swimming wetsuits for children. ‘The final and last step is apply an SPF30+ suncream. Follow instructions on the bottle for how often and how much cream you need to apply to protect your baby, but it’s better to be more rather than less generous,’ adds Caroline.
2. Swim Safely
Nothing beats splashing around in the water with your baby. ‘If you’re heading to the seaside this summer or even an indoor pool, make sure the water is at least 30C for a baby older than 12 weeks (or heavier than 12lb) and above 32C if she’s younger or smaller,’ says Paul Thompson from baby swimming class company Water Babies. Best stick to hols near the Med then…
3. Be Cool
Babies aren’t as good at controlling their body temperature as adults, so if your little one gets too hot, she can lose water and be at risk of dehydration. This could lead to heat rash or prickly heat – a pimply rash on your baby’s skin that’s caused by bacteria and dead skin cells blocking your baby’s developing skin cells. ‘It’s uncomfortable but not serious,’ says GP Dr Philippa Kaye. She recommends a tepid bath to help cool your baby down and calamine lotion to soothe the skin.
4. Banish BBQ Bugs
Who doesn’t love a bit of outdoor eating during the summer? Burgers? Check. Kebabs? Check. Pimms? Check, check, check. ‘Just make sure any BBQ food that you give your baby is cooked through and the juices run clear,’ says nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed. ‘If meat hasn’t been properly cooked or if raw meat touches cooked food, you and your baby could get ill with E.coli or salmonella.’ It’s worth pre-cooking your meat until the juices run clear and then you can finish it off on the BBQ to give it the smoky flavour.
5. Keep Topping Up Fluids
Your little one may be at risk of overheating or becoming dehydrated in hot weather. ‘It’s because they’re less able to control their body temperature,’ says Philippa. ‘This can lead to dehydration, so if your baby’s urine is dark, or she’s had a dry nappy, is lethargic and has sunken eyes, you need to get some fluids into her.’ Regular breastfeeds will keep your baby hydrated. If you’re bottle-feeding, you may want to offer some cool, boiled water, too. ‘If your baby is suffering, rehydration salts such as Dioralyte will help,’ says Philippa.
6. Look Out For Bites And Stings
When it comes to unwelcome summer guests, bees and wasps often top the list, especially when they start crashing your picnic or BBQ. ‘If you notice that your baby has been stung by a bee, scrape out the sting (it will look like a black speck) with the side of a credit card,’ says Philippa. ‘Wash the area with soap and water, and for both wasp and bee stings, apply a cold compress to soothe the pain.’ If your toddler is bitten by mosquitoes, a topical antihistamine bite cream can help ease the itching.
7. Get Out The Anti-Bac
If your heading off to a petting zoo or farm this summer, make sure you properly clean you and your baby’s hands after cuddling and petting the animals. Many places now provide anti-bacterial washes or gels next to each enclosure. This is because there’s a risk of picking up bugs such as E.Coli from the animals. It’s worth packing an alcohol-free gel or foam in your change bag just in case one isn’t provided.
Got tips for keeping your baby happy and healthy in summer time? Let us know below.