One of your biggest concerns if you are about to travel to a hot country may be about keeping your baby cool. Babies can’t regulate their own body temperatures the way that adults can so it is important to do what you can to keep your baby cool. Here are my top tips:
1. Don’t go out in the heat of the day (between 12pm and 3pm). I learnt this the hard way when taking my baby on a day trip to the Cinque Terre while we were travelling in Italy. Euan was so hot that he refused to feed from me, I think being too close to another body was too much to handle. Of course this worried me like mad so instead of enjoying the beautiful scenery I was counting the hours since his last feed. One reassuring thing was that he did take water from a bottle. He eventually fed in the comfort of the AC in our car at 5pm but I won’t be making the same mistake again. For the rest of the trip we went out early morning or late afternoon.
2. Make sure your baby always wears a hat while outdoors. This will ensure that the sun won’t beat down on his/her head. If you forget your baby’s hat then you should improvise. While in Switzerland I realised I had forgotten Euan’s hat and I couldn’t just nip back to the hotel because we were up a mountain (reached by funicular railway, not foot!) I used a muslin square to fashion a bandanna for Euan and all was well. Of course when the sun had gone down and I happened to be routing around in the changing bag for something else I realised the hat had been there all along and I just hadn’t seen it!
3. Seek shade. Gone are the days of desperately seeking a suntan by lying in the sun. Keep your little one protected while outdoors by avoiding the sun. Be careful though, my brother-in-law burnt in Greece this year because he thought he was protected in the shade and didn’t put on any sunscreen. If your baby is over 6 months use total block sunscreen to protect him/her from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
4. Keep your baby hydrated. If your baby is exclusively breastfed on demand then you do not need to offer him/her water because breast milk will keep your baby hydrated . If you are offering your baby water then consider the following: if the tap water is safe then remember to boil and cool it before offering it to your baby; if you are offering bottled water check the label to make sure it’s baby friendly because some bottled water contains minerals not recommended for babies. If your baby is weaned then some fruits (melon, pear etc) can be good to quench thirst.
5. Use a sun canopy in the pushchair and a sun visor in the car.
6. Dress your baby appropriately. My son spends most of his time abroad in a lightweight cotton summer romper. While indoors and overnight he just wore his nappy/diaper.
7. A hand-held fan is a good idea for cooling your baby down.
8. Keep the shutters closed during the day to keep the house cool, especially if you don’t have air conditioning.
Please share your tips about how you keep your baby cool below.