Summertime is a great time for babies. They're finally rid of those restricting snowsuits and can just enjoy the world around them. They can explore sandy beaches, wading pools and sun-speckled lawns, maybe for the first time in their young lives. But, summer comes with its own set of hazards. Here is a list of things new parents can do to ensure that their baby is safe and healthy while enjoying the warmer months.
Whether it's the beach, the bathtub or a backyard wading pool, babies love to splash and play in water. It calms them down, entertains them and offers all sorts of learning experiences. Water, however, can be dangerous. Never, never, leave an infant alone in water. While bathing or swimming, babies need to be monitored every second. Never substitute a floatation device for actual supervision. Water wings may help a baby learn to swim, but they cannot prevent drowning.
The importance of sunscreen
Most of us know we need sunscreen; it can protect us from sunburn and from long-term skin damage. But what about babies? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends water-proof, infant-approved sunscreen for babies over six months of age. Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sun. Sunscreen should only be used on them in small amounts if sun exposure cannot be avoided.
Usually breast milk or formula provides a baby with adequate hydration. In the hot months of summer, however, this may not be true. During the summer, your doctor may advise you to offer your baby water from a bottle or sippy cup between regular feedings. Call your doctor if your infant exhibits signs of dehydration, including unusual sleepiness and decreased or dark urine.
Infants cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults which puts them at a higher risk of developing heatstroke. Watch your infant for signs of overheating, especially if baby has been in an uncooled home or in a hot car. If your baby is unusually sleepy, has a bright red face, or starts vomiting after heat exposure, move her to a cool place immediately and contact your health care provider for further instructions.
These tips are just a few of the summertime precautions you should take. The AAP has more information on its site. And remember, never hesitate to contact your physician if you have any questions about the care of your infant.