Summer may not officially be here in Houston yet, but the heat has come to TX! For first time parents, or even new again parents, there can be a lot of questions about how to care for baby and kiddos during these hotter months. Here are some tips:
Sweating, Rashes, and Dehydration
Let’s face it – it’s HOT in Houston. Heat rashes, diaper rashes, and dehydration are a constant worry for parents and caregivers. While all children can suffer from dehydration if they aren't given enough fluids, or rashes if their skin isn’t given enough air flow, there are some easy ways to avoid these events. Making your own frozen fun popsicle for older kids with fruit-infused water or fruit juices can be a great way to help kids replace the fluids they are loosing while out on these hot days. Babies under 6 months of age can suffer from dehydration but are not yet ready for water consumption. During these hotter months, offer them more breast milk or formula to help keep them hydrated. Some younger babies may not sweat, but you can tell they are too hot if they are flushed or their hands and feet feel hot. You can try putting water on their hands and feet, or wiping them with a chilled towel to help keep them cool when outside. Also try to plan outings during “cooler” parts of the day – which is hard in Houston, but limit time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. If red bumps appear on their skin, this could be a heat rash. Bathing with mild soap and lukewarm water can help, as well as loose-fitting clothing. If diaper rashes are reoccurring, try going without a diaper as much as possible to allow that sensitive area some “breathing” time.
Some signs of dehydration are irritability, sleepiness, cracked lips, or crying with no tears. Another way to tell is by making sure they have the same amount of wet diapers as they normally do. For more information on dehydration and things to do if you think you have a child suffering from it visit webmd here.
Mosquitos and other bugs
Another time red bumps may appear on your child is when they have been bitten by mosquitoes or another bug. Applying repellent for older children can help keep bugs away, like Shue Bug, and keeping smaller babies under netting can help prevent bites. Motherlove Green Salve can help bites heal quickly if your little one does get some bites – a must have in every household for almost every month in Houston – as these little critters never seem to be gone!
Sunshine and Protection
Children should always be wearing sunscreen if they are 6 months or older, even under their clothing. Most normal clothing only provides about 5 UPF of protection from the suns rays. Finding sun protection specific clothing that are long-sleeved and long pants offers even more protection from the damaging rays. Things like LuvBug's Sunscreen Blanket with an UPF of 50+, can be used to cover children while in the carseats or strollers to help keep sun off of them, but we still recommend applying sunscreen every two hours if they are old enough. Having children wear hats and sunglasses will help to protect their eyes and scalps from the sun as well.
Cars and Kids
Every year children and babies are left in cars where the temperature quickly rises and lives are lost. In 2019, there have already been 10 deaths. Sleep deprivation, stress, and just day-to-day changes in schedules can lead parents and caregivers to sometimes forget that the baby is sleeping in the back seat. Some things you can do to help counteract that is leaving something you need each day in the backseat next to baby. This could be your purse or wallet, or even one of your shoes. This habit might sound silly, but when baby falls asleep in the backseat, and it wasn’t your normal day to drop off, and you go on autopilot to work, arrive and start to walk in with just one shoe – you might see where that helps. Harris County Precinct 1 Constable office is handing out placards to help fight this scenario from happening this year as well. You can head over to their office at 1302 Preston, or visit https://pct1constable.net/public-safety/ to find out more information.
Does your little one seem to always be a bit overheated when you get to your destination, even though you had the AC on full blast and were freezing in the front seat? One way to cool down the seat when you are inside the store running errands is to put a frozen bottle of water wrapped in a towel in the seat. This keep the seat a bit cooler so when you reenter the care your little one can sit a bit more comfortably. The Noggle is a another great way to keep even the rear-facing kiddos cooler in the car while on trips to do errands and more! Also, for those little ones that are still in the bucket seat, protecting them from the sun by covering them can make them overheat. Luv Bug offers a UPF 50+ cover, the only one on the market, with side vents to allow airflow while still covering them and protecting them from sunlight.
Outside Play and Safety
Time for a fun evening BBQ at a friends house and the kiddos playing outside! It starts to get dark, and you worry about your little one playing to close to the street. You’re on a walk in the evening on the walking path and worry the bikers using the same path might not be able to easily see your little one walking just a few steps ahead of you. Kid Co offers a great reflective vest to help others see your little one on the side of the road or on the walking path. Another idea to make it a bit more fun is to give them flashlights to adventure with when it starts to get dark.
Let us know any other ideas you might have for keeping kids cool and safe in the summer.