Summer is here and you are already sweating even without baby attached to you so you have huge dilemma should you or not wear baby in carrier during summer. So here are some pratical gudies.
How to dress baby?
When choosing right outfit for hot summer days we need to keep in mind several things. First use only light, breathable and natural fabrics. Make sure to dress wider clothes and you can also choose to dress kid with longer sleaves and trousers to avoid exposing babies skin. Remember, babies’ delicate skin needs high level protection from the sun. Having more skin exposed to the sun won’t necessarily cool down you or baby, but you can choose also to carry only in t-shirt or diapers but make sure to use right sunset cream with high UV protection factor.
If baby skin is exposed you can use muslin cloth to cover exposed areas.
Hat is mandatory during summer. Choose wide hats, preferably with UV protection and ideally with longer side on a back to cover neck. Most soft structured carriers also have head cover (hood) you can use.
Avoid hotest part of the day
If possible walk in the morning or late afternoon or evening. Around noon to 16h is usually good time to nap or be indoor or in deep deep shade. If needed you can take parasol to create shade and when in a walk try to chase it as much as possible. If necessary to go in midday then take extra attention to cover baby skin.
What carrier to use?
If there is a possibility to choose you will find one of this options much more comfortable during summer:
For baby with good neck and head support you can wear on a hip in ring sling or at front as it has only one layer.
For baby who sit without assistance or support you can try back carriers as those are much comfortable during summer.
If you use Soft Structure carrier – linen and mash or those with UV protection provide less sweat and heat.
If you are using woven wrap then use it if possible in one layer carries.
Onbuhimo is always a nice choice for kids who can lift themselves on feet.
For summer we want to choose natural fabrics those which breath. Linen, merino wool, cotton, ice cotton bamboo… can be good choices. Also there is specially designed water carriers, ring slings and wrap which allow you to go in water with baby attached and minimise stress.
Often offer baby water and drink also yourself. You can also use water to spray occasionally yourself and baby to cool you down a bit. It is important for you also to drink water and especially important if you’re breastfeeding. Be sure to offer your baby extra fluids, too. If you are breastfeeding a baby under six months then offer some additional breastfeeds. Heat can easy make small babies dehydrated so it is really important to remember to take fluids. If you suspect that baby is dehydrated ask for medical assistance.
Take a break
If you start overheating, get short of breath or any reason remember it is fine to take a break. Just make sure you reach shade.
Muslin cloth is very useful in summer and can have multi purpose. You can use it to add aditional cover/shade. But you can also put it between you and baby when front carry to collect extra sweat when baby is especially sleeping or as a cooling addition if you use it wet. There are also specially designed “summer pillow” and “bibs” which can be detached to soft structure carrier with the same purpose.
You can use paper or those small fans on batteries to provide more cool breeze when needed.
Taking care of carriers
Sun can damage carriers especially if they have plastic parts like most of soft structured carriers. It is extremely important not to leave carrier directly exposed to sun or those with plastic parts in a hot car. If you dry your ring sling or woven wrap keep in mind that Sun can damage fabric and colour and try to choose shade to dry fabric outside.
Marks on baby skin
Less layers during summer babywearing can leave some traces and marks on skin. It can be little red and trails where the carrier was, but it should quickly disappear after you took out baby from a carrier. Swallen limbs and persistan markings are not normal. If you noticed that legs becoming blue it means that circulation is stopped/slower and you need to adjust carrier or take baby out of carrier. If it is persistent and often please stop babywearing and consultant with babywearing consultant.
Heat Stroke (MayoClinic)
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition is most common in the summer months.
Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:
High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
Headache. Your head may throb.
If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number.
Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.
Get the person into shade or indoors.
Remove excess clothing.
Cool the person with whatever means available — put in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, fan while misting with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.
Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:
Wear loosefitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.
It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.
Written by certified babywearing consultant Ana Vuletić and LTC Babywearing consultants