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Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant


Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather)

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM
Baby safety in hot weather is an important topic at the moment with the continuing extreme temperatures in much of Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere at similar latitudes.
Unfortunately, one of my books, Feeding Baby & Child (Virginia Phillips, Hyland House, 1984, 1992), which has a whole chapter on hot weather care, is now out of print. However, here are a few quick tip:
- keep your baby indoors and out of direct or reflected heat as much as possible
- air-conditioning is desirable. If you don't have it, electric fans do a better job if wet towels are hung over furniture (NOT the  baby's cot, for safely issues) as evaporation caused coolness
- if you don't have air-conditioning, shopping centres do, and are a good place to visit on the hottest days
- NEVER leave your baby in the car - risks include overheating and dehydration (which can happen quickly and be fatal), and if you leave the air-conditioning on with the keys in the car, there is the risk of a car-jacking with your baby in the car
- if you really have to go out, avoid the middle of the day if you can and make sure your baby is shaded
- the beach is NOT a safe place for a baby in the daytime, because there is reflective heat from the sun shining on the sand and water, as well as direct heat. If you want to go to the beach, go very late in the day and protect your baby
- for the pool (late in the day when the sun in low, e.g. after 4 or 5 pm), babies - just like other children - need to wear sun-safe tops with long sleeves to protect their delicate skins. In fact, in schools in North Queensland sun-safe clothing in the pool is mandatory for swimming classes. It is needed for babies, too.
- the coolest parts of the house are away from the windows and the outside walls (which can get very hot) and in an internal doorway. You can check which spots have a  better current of air if you hang a mobile in different areas. (I found this a useful way to check when my youngest was a baby, it was over 40 degrees Celcius, and we didn't have air-conditioning.)
Note: Vitamin D is a different issue. What I'm talking about is safety in extreme conditions. Stay safe this long summer.

Categories: Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather)