The weather is getting warmer, which can make following safer sleep advice more complicated. It is harder to keep baby cool and holidays and travel can disrupt routines. We have put together some tips on baby summer safety so you can enjoy the summer and keep baby safe when the weather gets hot.
Baby summer safety tips
Travelling by car
If your trip involves driving for long periods of time, you should stop for regular breaks. This will allow you to check on your baby, take them out of the car seat and let them stretch and move around. Ideally, a second adult should travel in the back of the car with your baby, or if travelling alone use a mirror to keep an eye on your baby.
If your baby changes their position and slumps forward, then you should immediately stop (when safe to do so), take them out of the car seat and sit them upright before continuing on your journey.
Car seats are designed to keep babies safe while travelling, not as a main sleeping place. Car seats should only be used for transport and not as an alternative for cots or high chairs. It’s OK for your baby to fall asleep in a car seat when travelling, but they should be taken out as soon as you get to your destination, and placed onto a firm, flat surface to sleep.
Following a safer sleep routine on holiday
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) babies should be slept on their back on a firm, flat, mattress for every sleep day and night. It is important that this routine is followed on holiday. If your baby is sleeping in a travel cot the mattresses are often thinner and feel harder but don’t be tempted to place folded blankets or a quilt under the baby to make them ‘more comfortable’. Ensure that the travel cot isn’t against a radiator, in direct sunlight, and is out of reach of blind cords and hazards.
Babies that get too hot have a greater chance of SIDS. We recommend keeping the room where your baby sleeps at a fairly cool temperature of 16-20°C. This can be more difficult in summer months or when away somewhere warm. If the room where the baby sleeps is difficult to cool use lighter bedding and clothing and open the bedroom door and a window, if it is safe to do so. Baby sleep bags will have guidance on what tog to use for each season. You might also like to use a fan to cool the room, but don’t aim it directly on the baby. A thermometer can help you to make sure the room is at the right temperature.
Keeping baby cool when out and about
Babies’ prams, travel systems and buggies should not be covered with blankets, cloths or any cover that prevents the air circulating. Covering a pram or buggy with a blanket could lead to overheating, which increases the chance of SIDS. Using a cover also creates a barrier between parent and baby, which is risky as parents won’t be able to see if their baby is having difficulties or monitor their temperature easily. We recommend attaching a clip-on sunshade or parasol to a pram or buggy and checking if baby is getting too hot by feeling their chest or the back of their neck. Keep babies out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Making sure baby has enough fluids
When the weather is hot it is important to make sure that your baby has plenty of fluids. Fully breastfed babies don’t need any extra water until they start eating solid food. During hot weather they may want to breastfeed more than usual. If you’re bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby a little cooled boiled water. If your baby wakes at night, they’ll probably want milk. If they have had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well.
Co-sleeping more safely
If you or your partner are having an alcoholic drink, smoking or taking medication that could make you drowsy on holiday (or at home) co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous and increases the risk of SIDS. In these circumstances your baby should be slept in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you.