Inside: Have a new baby in the summer? Read on to get our best tips to keep your baby safe from the sun and overheating and simply survive your baby’s first summer!
The summer months can be a wonderful time to get out and explore with a new baby. But they can also be quite a challenging time as well. It’s important to keep baby safe from the sun’s harmful rays, prevent dehydration in the heat and ensure baby’s safety in the pool or at water play.
As a mom to three spring babies, this was something that was top of mind for me when the hot summer days rolled in. I always had to think of ways to keep my babies safe under the sun, while not locking myself in the house all day. Because as a mom with little ones, you need to find ways to stay sane as well.
But I struggled a lot to enjoy the hot months because it seemed staying indoors was just more comfortable for baby and easier to deal with. Over the years, I learned you can’t let obstacles rule your life…just have to be creative and work around them.
Summer Safety Tips to Survive the Heat with a New Baby
When we think safety in the summer, the top thing that comes to mind is usually sun or heat protection. And it’s a good place to start.
Make Sun Protection a Priority
To survive summer with a baby, start by protecting baby’s sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Babies under 6 months of age should NOT be exposed to direct sunlight — as their skin is too delicate — so finding shade from the sun should be your first step.
The following make easy options for infant sun protection:
Take my word for it, if you don’t start early, your kid may never keep a sun hat on (or any for that matter!)…so whenever you can, make sure to add one early-on to your summer must-have list. I really love the ones with breathable material that include SPF like this iplay hat. I bought a size up because the drawstring allows you to tighten and fit well (and bonus: you can keep for a growing baby!).
This is one of the most common ways to keep everyone away from direct sunlight when at the beach or outdoors with family. Grab a beach umbrella at your favorite store or online — Amazon is my go-to (especially with 2-day shipping) so would start there if you need one for the weekend!
Clothes with UV protection
My absolute favorite way to shield baby’s skin from harmful rays (and to forgo the sunscreen battles with older kids) is to simply stock up on clothes with UVA protection (also know as swimsuit rash guards). These are basically swimsuits that offer SPF, making it much easier getting a little one ready to play under the sun.
- Baby Boy Rash Guard – We love this one piece swimsuit that is easy to get on and off and keep baby safe in the sun!
- Baby Girl Rash Guard – This one comes with a sun hat (bonus buy!)
Similar to an umbrella, you can use a baby canopy or a portable tent perfect for trips to the beach with baby or hanging out in the yard. The Campela baby canopy comes with a little inclusive bag for easy portability — so the next time you are stuck outdoors without shade you can make this your go-to for baby sun protection.
Find Safe Sunblock for Babies
If your child is older than 6 months and you are trying to find the best sunscreen for baby, you’ll want to look for a brand that has a safe rating according to the EWG — a site vetting the chemicals in popular sunscreens and lotions to ensure low toxicity. Earth Mama is an all natural brand safe for baby which many parents love!
We’ve also used the following brands over the years and find them great options for protecting delicate skin:
- Earth Mama Baby
- Babyganics Suncreen
- Aveeno Baby
Now, you may be tempted to just lather on sunscreen on baby to prevent sun damage, but sunscreen for babies under 6 months is not recommended. If you absolutely must, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests only a very light layer of SPF 15. I never went that route with my kids cause I was too afraid of any side effects. But if you are looking for brands just in case, Badger is one of the top-rated by EWG for all-natural sunscreens — something nice to have just in case, for those moments you can’t avoid the sun!
Keep Baby Hydrated
One tip to never forget about throughout the year, but especially summer time, is keeping your baby hydrated. Make sure your child is getting plenty fluids throughout the day. If your child is under 6 months, breastmilk and formula will suffice.
If you’re breastfeeding in the summer, you don’t need to add water or anything like that despite popular believe (although some pediatricians may suggest introducing water a couple spoonfuls at a time around this age). In fact, breastmilk works in amazing ways — changing with baby’s needs to adjust to baby’s specific development requirements over time!
Understand Summer Carseat Safety
This is a major concern when the temperatures rise…one which many people don’t give much thought too until the time comes. Prepare in advance, and make car rides comfortable for your children to keep them cool. Start with simple things like opening up all windows or turning on AC a few minutes before you load baby in. You can find a ton of suggestions in a recent post I wrote about keeping baby cool in the carseat.
Above all, NEVER leave a baby unattended in a car…even with the windows rolled down on a cooler summer day. It is just not safe. The summer is one of the scariest times to mess around with temperatures in cars rising dramatically.
Don’t overdress baby in the heat
While you might think it’s best to always keep baby swaddled all day and night or dress in full layette when they are so little, higher temperatures will make it uncomfortable for baby too.
Now if the AC is blasting, then yes, a newborn baby should still be kept warm in a swaddle. But in normal room temperature, my pediatrician reassured me letting baby nap in the crib with a onesie and socks was fine (and more comfortable for baby). It felt strange at first, but when I started seeing more little bumps and heat rashes on baby, it made complete sense!!
At bedtime you can do the pajamas and swaddle, just make sure air is circulating in the room so baby is comfy. Think: if you’re sweating, then baby is probably a little warm too, so just do a quick check.
And, something important to note: when you are out and about with baby in the stroller or snap-n-go, be sure that you never fully cover baby with a blanket over the top because this can seal in heat and pose a serious overheating risk. As a new mom, I always wanted to shield my baby from the sun during stroller walks, but now I understand why a (breathable) blanket should only be used to extend the canopy a few inches more, and not completely over the carseat/stroller!
Keep Babies Safe in or Around Water
Lastly, your summer survival guide wouldn’t be complete without touching upon water safety. Whether you plan to introduce your baby to the pool or not, know that baby will come into contact with water one way or another. Maybe during normal bath time, or near a water table, so a little precaution is empowering.
The top tips I can give for safe water play, is first and foremost, to always supervise.
Giving baby a bath to cool off and forgot a wash cloth? While it may be tempting, try not to step away and leave baby alone. Instead, call for help or skip it for now if it will take you away from baby more than 2 seconds. It can be frustrating, but safe for sure! And of course, if you can plan ahead and use a bath caddy like this one, you can have more peace of mind when it comes to bathing baby.
I hope these safety tips will help bring more awareness and clarity as you care for your new baby in the summer and enjoy this special time together!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.