How Hot Is It Too Hot For Babies? Experts Consider

How Hot Is It Too Hot For Babies? Experts Consider ...

I love it when the spring weather arrives and temperatures rise, but I don't want or need the extreme hot, sweaty summer months that accompany them. Why? Because babies need our help to remain cool, safe, and comfortable.

What can be done to help babies in hot weather?

Dr. Tony Woodward, the medical director and chief of emergency medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, explains that overheating isn't just uncomfortable for babies; it's also dangerous. As a general rule of thumb, Woodward recommends keeping brand new infants a few days or weeks old mostly inside, and somewhat older babies and children out of harm's way by anticipating your environment and preparing for it.

Consider the fact that your baby will need help keeping cool if you know it will be hot and you'll need to spend time outdoors. Babies absorb heat about five times as rapidly as adults, but their ability to sweat is still developing, according to Woodward.

If you do need to go out in hot weather to protect babies from overheating, remember to:

What are the ways to know if a baby is overheating?

Your baby will never be able to express how relaxed or uncomfortable they are, but what happens to a child when they get too hot? It is important to recognize the signs of overheating in infants, and to keep an eye on them when the temperatures rise.

You may notice signs of overheating, like the following:

  • Irritability
  • Flushing
  • Their body feels really warm. 99 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit is a normal temperature for a baby, but if they're at 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 103 degrees Fahrenheit, they're much too hot, cautions Woodward. And if their temperature goes above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, rush them to a hospital.
  • Theyre not peeing. Babies should urinate about every three hours, at least. If they're peeing less, or the urine is dark in color or has more of an odor, it could be a sign that baby is dehydrated.
  • Rapid breathing or panting. Breathing faster is a way that their bodies will to try to get rid of excess heat.

What temperature is suitable for babies to be outside at?

Woodward advises parents to be cautious when it comes to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not necessarily realistic particularly if you have older children to tend to never leave the house. However, if it is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to be aware that extra caution is required to keep your baby safe from overheating.

Wendy Kirwan, Kars4Kids' director of public relations, says hot weather requires parents to take special precautions when traveling with a youngster. "At 104 degrees Fahrenheit, a child's internal organs begin to shut down."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants and children should never be left in a parked automobile, even if the windows are cracked open. Not even for a few minutes, says Woodward, because babies can become overheated very quickly. It's really about planning.

If you suspect your baby is overheating, here are some suggestions for what to do.

"Removing the baby from the heat is the best way to protect them," says Dr. Marnie Baker, a pediatrician at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. "This is a highly efficient method to cool them down, without using dangerous cold water submersion or topical alcohol wipes," according to Romper.

According to Woodward, there are other methods to cool an overheated baby.

  • Cool them with a wet wash cloth.
  • Get them indoors and into a room with air conditioning or in a room with a fan. You dont want the fan blowing directly on the baby, but you do want a room with good air circulation, Woodward explains.
  • Hydration, either from breast milk or formula.
  • Remove any extra clothing or blankets.

When you have any questions, consult your pediatrician. Or, if you notice any signs of a high temperature or altered mental state, don't wait to rush the child to the emergency room.

When it's hot, how do you dress a baby to sleep?

Baby clothes do not need to be dressed in more layers than adults, and this is also true of dressing babies for sleep. If it's hot, put them to bed wearing as little as possible, advises Woodward. The ideal temperature for babies should be in the mid-70s.

When it comes to protecting your child from overheating and keeping them safe in hot weather, you can trust your instincts and your own comfort levels. Be sure to keep them hydrated, dress them appropriately, and watch for signs of overheating.

Sources interviewed:

Dr. Tony Woodward, the medical director and chief of emergency medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital

Dr. Marnie Baker, a pediatrician at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, is a certified nurse.

Wendy Kirwan, Kars4Kids' director of public relations, has been appointed director of public relations.

This article was published on April 24, 2018.

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