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How to Keep Your Baby Comfortable in the Summer Heat

Before you take Baby to the park or pool this summer, be sure you know how to keep her comfortable and prevent her from getting overheated.

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Summer is a tricky season for keeping an infant safe and comfortable. If she's overdressed, she can develop heat rash and sitting in the sun too long can lead to sunburn or heatstroke. Over heating has also been linked to sudden infant death syndrome. Put sunscreen on your baby before you leave the house and reapply every 2 hours or whenever she gets wet or sweaty. The label may say to consult your doctor before applying sunscreen to an infant, but it's generally safe to use one containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on a baby of any age. Avoid blocks with oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate. Choose one that's waterproof and designed for kids with an SPF of at least 15. Apply it under clothing too. The average cotton t-shirt has an SPF of only 5. When heading outside, dress your baby in light colored pants, a light long sleeved shirt, and a wide brimmed hat to shield her face. Do this even on gray days, since harmful rays can penetrate the clouds. If you're going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting lightweight clothes made from a natural fiber like cotton. If you're comfortable on shorts and a t-shirt, that's fine for your baby too. If you notice that your baby's face is flushed, her skin is warm to the touch, she's breathing rapidly, or she's restless, she may be dehydrated even if she isn't sweating. Since infants under 6 months shouldn't drink water, give her extra formula or nurse her more frequently. A little bit of water is okay for babies over 6 months. If your infant sweats a lot, she may develop heat rash which looks like tiny read bumps that cluster on the neck or groin, back of the knees or in the crease of the elbows. To relieve it, change your baby into loose cotton clothes or just a diaper and apply cornstarch baby powder to the affected areas. Try to stay inside, in a cool well-ventilated area.