We all know about the dangers of sun and heat exposure. We keep our kids in the shade, slather them in sun cream and would never, ever leave them in a hot car.
But as the temperature rises, there’s one common mistake that could be putting babies at risk.
Researchers in Sweden report that using a blanket as a pram cover actually creates “furnace-like heat” inside.
Even thin cloths like muslins can reduce air circulation and increase the heat within the pram by as much as 15 degrees Celsius.
“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos,” paediatrician Svante Norgren, said in an interview with Swedish newspaper, the Svenska Dagbladet. “There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram.”
When the newspaper decided to do its own experiment with a pushchair, they produced some shocking results.
Uncovered: A pushchair left out in the heat without a cover reached a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Covered with thin material: Within 30 minutes, the temperature inside the pushchair increased to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit). After one hour it had shot up to a stifling 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Young children are more sensitive to heat changes than older children or adults. In warm conditions, their body temperature can rise between three and five times faster. This means that babies and toddlers are at an increased risk of heatstroke. Dangerous body temperature levels can also make them more prone to serious risks such as SIDS.
- Dress your baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and a sun hat.
- Use a parasol or clip-on sunshade on your child’s pram or buggy.
- Babies and children dehydrate quickly in hot weather. Breastfeed more often or offer extra water to bottle-fed babies and older children.
- Whenever possible, avoid being out in direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm.
- If the temperature is especially hot, keep your baby indoors.
- Never leave children in the car on a warm day, not even for a minute.