Summer safety tips for your baby

Summer is a time for venturing outdoors more with your baby. It’s time for fun in the sun, picnics in the park, splashing in the pool, and building sandcastles on the beach. But before you head out, you need to be aware of some of the summertime risks that go beyond sunburn.

1. Bug protection

Whether you’re going camping, lazing on the beach, or just playing in the backyard, mosquitoes and midges are drawn to babies.

To protect your bub from bugs:

  • If you’re spending time in your own backyard, you could set up a portacot and cover it with a mosquito net. Your baby will still be getting fresh air while you could do some gardening or relaxing, with peace of mind that your baby won’t get attacked by bugs. 
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies under three months old. For older babies, please read the manufacturer’s instructions. Read this advice from the Royal Children’s Hospital on using repellents safely on children, and a list of suitable products. 
  • Use netting on the pram when out and about. 
  • Check your baby regularly for insect bites. 

2. Sun protection

The best sun protection for a baby is a barrier. When possible, keep them in the shade, under a tent, and wearing long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats. In addition to this, to protect your baby in the sun:

  • Try to stay indoors between 10am to 4pm. Complete avoidance of the sun is unnecessary, babies need Vitamin D, but aim for moderate sun exposure when the UV index is low. Check here for the UV index and the recommended times that sun protection is necessary in your area. Remember that babies can get sunburned even on overcast days. 
  • Read our sunscreen guide to find out Which Sunscreen is Best for Baby. Apply your chosen sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out, and then every 30 minutes (or after being in water).
  • Here are our Top 5 Sunsmart Tips for Summer. 

3. Water safety

Whether you take your baby swimming with you, or they’re splashing a few toys around in a tub of water, it’s essential that you have eyes on your baby at all times (even a few seconds is enough for a baby to drown, which is usually silent).

Also to keep your baby safe in water:

  • Always keep your hands on your baby or be within arm’s reach. 
  • Avoid water intoxication. In other words, don’t let your baby swallow too much water.
  • Keep sun safe in the water. Your baby should have swimwear that covers their arms and be wearing a hat, plus sunscreen. 
  • If your baby is swimming in a chlorinated pool, rinse the water off afterwards and apply a moisturiser to prevent their skin drying out. 
  • Read more about Baby Swimming and Parents. 

4. Sleep safety

Summers in Australia can be so changeable – from extreme 40 degree heat waves one week to cooler evenings and mild days the following week, so we need to adapt our baby’s sleep environment accordingly. 

  • Read our article on Summer Sleep Safety for tips on keeping your baby cool, sticking to your schedule, and what your baby should wear to bed. 
  • Be sure to dress you baby appropriately according to the temperature in your baby’s nursery and keep it at an ideal room temperature where possible.
  • Watch our video from our sleep expert for sleeping your baby safely this summer here. 

5. Overheating protection

Babies are at a much greater risk of overheating, heat stroke, and other health risks (such as SIDS) than adults as their little body temperature can rise three-to-five times faster. Here’s what you can do to prevent your baby from overheating:

  • Researchers are now advising parents not to cover prams, even with muslin cloths. Even though it seems like the right thing to do for sun protection, it could actually be creating a furnace-like heat within the pram, preventing air circulation. Instead, remove the back panel of the pram if possible, use a UV cover, or use more open strollers. Restrict pram walking to before 10am, after 3pm, or much later on hot days. 
  • Never leave a baby in a car – not even for a minute, and not even on mild summer days. When you’re hot and sleep-deprived, a quietly slumbering baby can be easily forgotten (it happens multiple times a year), so put something in the backseat beside your baby that you’ll need at your destination, such as your wallet or phone. 

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