As I sit here on this blustery June day with it's temperatures barely hitting 65 degrees, I have to kind of laugh at myself at the topic I have chosen to write on: heat and babies. For anyone who has lived in Central Oregon for a while knows that snow in July is not out of the ball park for weather. Just last week I was filling up my kids' wading pool and wearing as little clothing as possible. Now I am wondering how high can I turn the heat up on the thermostat without my husband getting suspicious. Central Oregon, you are tricky one. And I love you.
Anyways, back to my topic...
When the frosty nights give way to warm summer days we naturally gravitate outdoors to play and socialize. When we have a baby in tow a bit more care needs to be taken. Recent studies by a Swedish pediatrician by the name of Svante Norgren, M.D., found that when an infant is covered with a blanket to block sunlight in either a stroller or car seat, it creates a greenhouse effect. When covered by a blanket, the temperatures rose to over twenty degrees higher than the outside temperature in just thirty minutes. So in 70 degree weather, the inside of the stroller can get to be up to 90 degrees in a very short time.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician wasn't surprised by these finding and cautioned us not to get carried away stating in her interview with Today, "For a hundred years, parents have been draping blankets carefully and safely over their baby strollers to protect them from the sun, and we still want them to do that. But we can be thoughtful about it and this is a good reminder.” Babies in general tend to run hotter than adults and have a harder time regulating their body temperature. One pediatrician stated that it's not necessarily the blanket covering the baby that is the issue but the fact that we do not have direct eyesight of them. If your infant is in distress you may not be able to notice when they are behind a blanket and out of your vision.
What are some of the things we can do to ensure that our babies are not being overheated?
- Check your baby often to make sure they are acting normally and not over heating.
- Choose light colored and light material fabric when needing a cover.
- Ensure that there are entry and exit points for air to circulate.
- Use your stroller or car seat's built in canopy to keep sun off your baby instead of a blanket.
If your child starts acting unusual, feels hot or doesn't respond as they typically would, get them into an air conditioned place and allow them to cool down and offer them fluids. If they continue to act out of what is normal, consult your doctor right away.
All in all, it comes down to mindfulness. Don't let this keep you from taking your baby outdoors. Enjoy your time outside!