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Baby boy playing in the sand on the beach

In the United States, summer is arguably the best season of them all. The warm weather calls for vacations, days by the pool and relaxation. But with it also comes numerous dangers to the health and safety of your baby. The team at Glen Allen Pediatrics has put together this guide to help you understand how to keep your baby safe and healthy all summer long.

Protecting Against The Sun

The arrival of summer brings afternoon barbecues, lazy days by the pool or on the beach and countless other outdoor activities. With all of this time spent outdoors, it’s important to protect your child from two of summer’s main dangers; the sun and the heat.

When taking your baby outdoors in the summertime, it’s extremely important that you take proper measures to protect their delicate skin. Infants under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. If your baby is this young, try to keep them in the shade as much as possible to avoid sun overexposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that if the shade is not an option, parents with infants can use sunscreen on their baby that is at least SPF 15 or higher to help avoid sunburns. You may also want to consider dressing your baby in a hat and other sun-protective clothing to protect their face, eyes, and skin from any damage from the sun.

If your baby does get a slight sunburn, remove them from the sun immediately. You can help treat your infant’s sunburn by delicately applying cold compresses to your baby’s skin and by using over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. Even a slight sunburn can cause lasting damage to your child’s skin, so try to avoid overexposure to the sun as much as possible.

Another damage that the sun poses to your newborn is the threat of overheating and heat exhaustion. Infants are at a much higher risk of overheating because they do not have the capacity to sweat as much as older humans. Because their bodies do not cool themselves as easily, you as a parent must be vigilant and keep your child cool and hydrated whenever they are exposed to the heat. When babies overheat, they become tired and lethargic. If your baby is overheating, you may notice that they are warm to the touch, feverish, and have flushed skin. Monitor your child’s breastmilk or water intake (depending on age) and their urine frequency to make sure they are consistently hydrated if outdoors in the heat.

Many parents choose to dress their newborn in simple, light clothing in the summertime to help them stay cool. For that reason, it’s important to skip the layers and save the dress-up clothes for special occasions in warmer months and stick with onesies and breathable, light fabrics. Many new parents also dip their newborn baby into a room-temperature or luke-warm bath up to a few times a day to help them stay cool and comfortable throughout the day.

Safety in Outdoor Activities

As your infant grows, they’ll become increasingly independent and will venture off more easily. That’s why it’s especially important to keep an eye on your child as you begin to partake in more outdoor activities this summer.

In the summer season, we spend more time outdoors and around bodies of water. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for infants and children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 10 people die in the United States each day from unintentional drowning, at least 2 of them being children under the age of 14.

Another issue that new parents face in the summertime is the threat of insects. Newborns have very delicate skin and immune systems. Therefore, it’s absolutely imperative that you take the proper measures to protect them from the threat of mosquitoes. Make sure you use baby-friendly, organic bug spray to protect your newborn if going outdoors. You may also want to utilize protective fabrics like mosquito nets and canopy tents when going outdoors for long periods of time to protect your baby from mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry.

From infancy to college, our team is here to help you maintain the health of your child. For more information about how you can help keep your child happy and healthy, contact Glen Allen Pediatrics today by dialing (804) 282-4210. As a small practice, the doctors, nurses, and staff at Glen Allen Pediatrics will get to know you and your child, providing continued, quality care that is customized to your child’s needs.