Fun in the sun is what summer is all about but there’s a lot that goes into protecting your baby from summertime dangers. From heat, bugs and burns, to sand, cuts and germs, we’re covering the major summer safety issues to consider with your baby.
Whether you’re off to a beach vacation, visiting your neighborhood pool, or filling a kiddie pool in your backyard, your baby requires constant supervision around water. Ask your pediatrician when it is safe for your baby to be in the water. Even if your baby can sit, stand or walk, remain within arm’s reach at all times.
In the ocean, stay in calm water and put a life jacket on your baby if you are boating or swimming in depths beyond your own waist level. Ensure standing water in your home is in a gated area where your baby cannot wander on her own. Also watch out for dry drowning, which can occur hours after swimming if your baby swallows a lot of water.
Expert Mom Tip: Don’t want to get in the kiddie pool? Throw on a nursing cami and shorts so you can stay cool and wade in the water with your baby.
Anytime you head outdoors make sure your baby is wearing baby-safe sun block. If you are concerned about chemicals in traditional sunscreens, try a mineral-based solution. Reapply as instructed on the bottle. Try to avoid peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seek shade as much as possible and wear breathable sun protective clothing and hats.
Even when under shelter, babies are more sensitive to heat as their bodies cannot regulate their temperatures like older children and adults. Monitor your baby and go indoors if you notice irritability, flushness or a heat rash.
Expert Mom Tip: Amazingly, your breast milk can change temperature to adjust to your baby’s needs. So extra breastfeeding in the summer will keep your baby cool and hydrated. Be prepared to breastfeed at any time with comfortable, breathable nursing bras.
Bites, Cuts and Rashes
Insect bites, poisonous plants, and falls are all a part of exploring summertime. But they can seriously ruin your summer outings. Take a look at your surroundings to make sure you’re not hanging out near ant piles, bee hives, potentially poisonous plants, or equipment that may poke, trip or cut your infant. Apply baby-safe insect repellent to your baby’s clothing before heading outside or strap on a natural insect repellant bracelet. You can even cover your stroller with a lightweight net if necessary. Watch out for fragrant perfumes or lotions that may attract bugs. Be prepared with antimicrobial wipes to clean cuts and scrapes, anti-itch ointments for bug bites or rashes, and plenty of bandages.
Expert Mom Tip: Getting a boo-boo is no fun for anyone and especially scary for your baby who can’t comprehend what is causing the pain. Nursing is one of the best ways to comfort your baby. If your little one has trouble calming down, try breastfeeding to soothe her tears. Bring along a lightweight nursing cover so you can have a private moment to connect.
Between playgrounds, museums, and seasonal festivals, it’s fun to be out and about during the summer. But that increases your baby’s exposure to germs too. As you probably know, some exposure is good to build your baby’s immature immune system. But spending your entire summer with a sick baby is not the way you want to do it. Washing your baby’s hands after playtime (especially in public spaces) and before eating is essential.
Expert Mom Tip: Breastfeeding gives your baby crucial antibodies to protect against sickness and boost the immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months and continuing for one year or beyond for maximum nutritional and immune benefits.
Additional Summer Safety Concerns
Keep an eye out for these additional potential summertime hazards:
- Sand can be extremely hot and can irritate eyes and skin. It’s also very tempting to taste so keep an eye on your baby around sand.
- Sharp shells may cut your baby’s feet or hands.
- Jellyfish, crabs and other stinging or biting ocean animals are hard to spot but extremely painful.
- Food poisoning (if your baby has started solids) is a concern if you leave food out in warm weather.
- Playground equipment can get hot in direct sunlight and may have small parts that can injure your child. Only play on age-appropriate equipment.