Keeping babies cool and comfortable during the heatwave
We are not going to complain about this amazing weather, at all, and intend to enjoy it fully. We are also aware of the impact it can have on our skin, especially that of babies and are here to help. Almost 80% of parents say their newborns have experienced skin irritations in the warmer weather, with heat rash (48%), nappy rash (29%) and ‘general’ irritation (22%) the main complaints, according to research commissioned by WaterWipes.
Fidelma O’Dowd, dermatology advanced nurse at Beaumont Hospital, has provided the following advice on keeping your little ones, and yourself, healthy and happy in the hot weather:
- Keeping cool – it is easy to check if you baby is too warm by feeling the back of their neck. If it’s at all hot or damp it is time to remove a layer or move to somewhere cooler.
- Hydration – as a rule of thumb, 50% additional liquids are recommended in hotter weather for babies. They may not be visibly sweating or look hot, in order to lose fluids. As babies under six months can’t drink water, replace lost liquids with extra formula or more regular nursing.
- Avoiding heat rash – bumpy and red or pink in colour, heat rash tends to appear where airflow is poor. Think skin creases or the bands of clothing, but it can also appear on babies faces. The best way of treating it is by removing the tight clothing or nappy and dabbing with lukewarm water on a sponge. Keep skin clean and dry and use a barrier cream if required – moist skin can cause irritation and further inflammation so keeping the skin dry really is key. Ideally clothing should be loose and cotton, when it is required. The rash should go down within 12 hours but if not, have a chat with your pharmacist or GP.
- Comfy bedtime – a cool (18 – 20 degrees) bedroom with circulating air is ideal. In terms of clothing and bedding, babies often require one additional layer than an adult may sleep in, so if you’re sleeping naked with no sheets, a t-shirt and nappy should do the trick for baby.
- Treating sunburn – should the worst happen and your baby gets sunburn, we recommend speaking with your GP if they’re under 12 months or with your pharmacist for those a little older. They will likely advise applying lukewarm water followed by a moisturiser or recommended topical treatment to the affected area. Also, leave the blisters be!
- Sooth the skin – you may well venture to the beach or local swimming pool when the temperature rises, and chlorine and salt water can play havoc with skin. It is advisable to rinse it off as soon as possible in lukewarm water.
As part of the research parents were asked for their advice on dealing with the hotter weather. The tops tips were;
1. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of liquids (81%)
2. Remaining in the shade (78%)
3. Regular dips in the pool or sea (44%)
4. 29% staying indoors during the day.
Emer Dunne, WaterWipes marketing manager, said – “The hotter weather, while wonderful, has a very real effect on babies skin and sleep, so we wanted to provide some tips to try and make them that bit more comfortable and content. The bottom line is seeking out shade, whether that be under trees or canopies and staying hydrated. Some of these tips also apply to adults if you feel the need to cool down!”