It can be tricky (and stressful) to try to keep an infant protected from the elements. When you’re out for a stroll, it can be tempting to throw a lightweight blanket over the opening to keep the sun and/or wind off those bare baby feet.
But that could be making things more dangerous, not less.
Paediatricians quoted in Today’s Parent have warned that a lack of airflow within the stroller can cause temperatures to soar quickly and put them at increased risk of heat-related illness, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
(Swedish paediatrician Svante) Norgren told a local newspaper that even a thin muslin blanket can make conditions inside a stroller uncomfortably hot, and put your baby at risk. “It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos,” Norgren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
The newspaper tested Norgren’s theory and found that after 90 minutes, an uncovered buggy heated up to 22 degrees, while a stroller with a thin covering reached 34 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes. After an hour in the sun, it was a scary 37 degrees.
In Celsius, that’s approximately 22 degrees (uncovered for 90 minutes) compared to 37 degrees (covered for an hour).
Instead, try these techniques for keeping your baby cool and sunburn-free:
Use a large canopy, or a mesh or perforated sun shield designed for your specific stroller.
Dress the baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs.
Avoid the sun when its rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If all else fails and the sun is unavoidable, the American Academy of Paediatrics says a little sunscreen is ok:
When adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) on infants under 6 months to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.
Mostly, just use common sense, stick to the shade as much as possible and don’t cut off the air flow into the stroller.