By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
When my daughter waddled outside for our first snow day this past winter, it was nothing short of the scene from A Christmas Story. Clad in a puffy pink snowsuit and multiple layers underneath, she could barely move her arms and legs without toppling over. I overdid it, that’s for certain. But part of parenting is juggling the constant swirling of "toos" inside your head: Is she too tired? Too cold? Too whiny? Too quiet? The list goes on. And as the summer days get warmer, that includes: How do you know if your baby is too hot?
"Signs that your baby is hot and possibly overheating may be subtle," Dr. Marnie Baker, a pediatrician at Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, tells Romper in an email interview. "But the symptoms may include flushed cheeks, sweating, or fussiness."
Baker says when a baby is too hot, then his skin will usually feel very warm, especially early on, but if overheating progresses, babies "may actually get cool, pale, and appear ill."
According to Baby Center, babies and young children are especially susceptible to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition that can result, for example, when a child is left outside for too long in hot weather, especially in an instance where he is dressed too warmly or dehydrated.
In order to keep a baby from becoming overheated, Baker suggests increasing breast milk or formula intake for infants who are less than 6 months old. For infants more than 6 months old, parents should provide additional water to help replenish their needs after increased heat and sweating.
"Removing the baby from the heat is the best way to protect them," Baker says. "Parents can also take a washcloth, soaked in cool water, and apply it on their baby’s skin, and then fan them with the washcloth. This is a highly effective method to cool them down, without using a dangerous cold water submersion or topical alcohol wipes, which can rapidly cause shifts in body temperature that are not safe."
If you are headed outside, then choose a shady spot to play in and be cautious when using a stroller, car seat, or infant carrier, according to Fit Pregnancy and Baby. Don’t cover a car seat or stroller with a blanket, and keep in mind that, when babywearing, your body heat is transferring to your little one. Put simply: if you’re hot, then baby is hot.
Of course, while outdoor summer days are certainly wonderful, a little time spent in the air conditioned indoors isn’t so bad either. If you're a super sleuth mom, then I hear you can even turn chores into a game.