Keeping babies cool and comfortable during the summer can be tricky. Whether you’re spending time outdoors or just relaxing at home, here’s how to keep your infant safe and hydrated in hot weather.

Staying hydrated

To prevent dehydration, babies should be provided with extra fluids.

Exclusively breastfed babies do not need extra drinks of water, but they may need to breastfeed more frequently than usual.

Bottle fed babies and those on solids can be offered cooled boiled water throughout the day. Their usual milk feeds should be given first, then water top-ups.

Keeping babies cool during the day

Dress them in loose, light-coloured clothing. If you’re going outdoors, long sleeves and trousers will keep them cooler and offer some protection from harmful UV rays.

Pure cotton fabrics will absorb more sweat than synthetics like polyester. Cotton clothes will help babies stay dry and reduce the likelihood of them suffering from prickly heat rash.

A cotton sheet can be placed between your baby and their pram to prevent their body from coming into contact with the stick synthetic fabric.

If they get too warm, move them to a cooler place and dab their skin with lukewarm (not cold) water.

Sun protection

Sun creams aren’t recommended for babies under 6 months. The Department of Health suggests that very young babies should be kept out of the sun altogether. Babies are most at risk between 10am and 5pm. If you must go out, stick to the shade and protect little faces with wide brimmed hats.

Older babies (over 6 months) still need to be kept out of the sun wherever possible. Try and avoid spending prolonged amounts of time outside, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you want to take your little one out for a walk, head out during the early morning or early evening.

For babies over 6 months, apply a sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. Check that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Brands designed for babies are likely to contain fewer chemicals that might irritate the skin.

Keeping babies cool at night

The ideal room temperature is between 16 -20°C. Use a room thermometer in any rooms where your baby sleeps.

Keep their bedroom cool by keeping curtains and blinds shut during the day. Use a fan to circulate air.

Keep bedding and bedclothes to a minimum. If it’s too hot for you to sleep under a blanket or bedsheet, your baby may be more comfortable wearing just a nappy with a single well-secured sheet.

If your baby’s tummy or the back of their neck feels very hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedding or clothing.

A lukewarm bath before bedtime can help cool their body temperature.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can make babies and young children seriously ill during hot weather. Here’s our guide to spotting and treating the early symptoms heat exhaustion and heatstroke.