Australia is famous for its weather, but the downside of the glorious sunlight is the potential health hazard the high temperatures can present. Candice Meisels speaks to numerous experts and explains the safest way to handle the heat as a family. Please note, while this post is sponsored by Fly Babee, North Shore Mums fully supports the views expressed.
We are blessed with so many leafy green parks on the North Shore. Many parents and grandparents can be seen walking their little ones for strolls, parking prams next to park playgrounds so that older kids can play or simply strolling in their street. To avoid the sun shining brightly in their child’s eyes or to assist their baby drift off into dreamland, parents simply sling a light blanket, designer wrap or cotton cover over the pram. They are blissfully unaware that their babies or toddlers are in danger of overheating caused by inadequate airflow.
The incorrect blanket or wrap can cause heat to build up. This can increase the baby’s risk of heat suffocation. Overheating and re-breathing in carbon dioxide can increase the baby’s risk of SIDS. By trying to protect their babies from the heat, sun or by simply trying to aid their little one to snooze, parents are in fact putting their children at risk. Children cannot regulate their body temperatures the way that adults can. SIDS and Kids recommends that ‘babies control their temperature predominately through the face. Sleeping baby on the back with the head and face uncovered is the best way to protect baby from overheating.’
“As a mum of two young kids, I really do believe in keeping your babies in routine as much as possible,” she says. “However, we must ensure that their sleeping environment is safe. This was my primary focus when developing Fly Babee. Living in Manly, I’d often take bub for a walk along the coast and it’s a common sight to see parents covering their baby’s stroller with a blanket or wrap thinking they’re keeping bub safe from the sun and blocking distractions. However, poor circulation of air combined with the wrap following the line of the stroller means baby can pull the wrap in causing a choking or suffocation hazard. What ensued was designing a product that is 100% breathable, has a Sun Protection Factor of 50+, still allows baby to see out of either side of the cover, and a pop-dome shape (so it cant be kicked off, pulled in, or blown off in the wind), ensuring the sleeping environment is safe and comfortable for bub.”
I called The SIDS and Kids helpline for advice with regards to the topic of safely covering one’s pram. I chatted to a lovely, informative Safe Sleeping Expert. She explained to me that using a blanket on a pram is similar to the principle of locking a child in a car. The heat builds up quickly and is not free flowing.
The Safe Sleeping Expert also stated that covering a pram with an unsafe cover has been a topic that people have been concerned about for many years. She mentioned that many years ago, prams only faced one way so people started using blankets to block the sun out. She also sadly stated that she has heard of a few SIDS deaths from a capsule being covered with a blanket or wrap for a long period of time. She said that on these occasions the covered capsules were brought into the house and left for a set period of time. She ended by stating that a baby needs to be supervised when sleeping and air should always be free flowing around a baby. Anything that compromises airflow can be dangerous.
While Tresillian and KidSafe are not able to recommend specific products, the KidSafe representative said she personally recommends something a lot lighter than a blanket and something that is specifically designed with 100% airflow and sun protection in mind. Australian product Fly Babee definitely ticks these boxes. Not only does it offer breathability but it’s also been tested for air permeability, which means the air flows through the dome shape without interruption from the fabric.
Tips for keeping your baby or child cool in hot weather:
- Sleep baby on the back with face and head uncovered to avoid overheating
- Dress baby as you would yourself- comfortably warm
- A good way to check your baby’s temperature is to feel their chest. Their chest should feel warm.
- Babies hands and feet are naturally cool. This does not mean that your baby is cold.
- If your baby is sweating or has a red face, remove some bedding or clothing
- Never use hot water bottles, wheat bags or electric blankets for babies
- Remove baby’s jacket as soon as it becomes warmer when you move indoors or enter a warmer car/bus or train, even if your baby is asleep.
Factors to look for to ensure that you a purchasing a safe pram cover:
- The product should be tested
- The cover should offer 100% breathability as well as be air permeable to ensure adequate air flow
- The cover should be made of mesh material
- Look for a cover option that offers UPF 50+ protection so you have good sun protection
- Ensure that the pram cover is a universal cover so that it fits all prams
- Make sure that the product allows baby or toddler adequate space to kick or move
- Look for a cover than blocks out light to help baby sleep on the move
- The Australian pram cover, Fly Babee, can be used on an airline as a bassinet which is a bonus when travelling
Additional safety factors to keep your child safe in hot weather:
- White clothing or light clothing reflects the sun
- Slather sunscreen on your kids and yourself!
- Don’t keep your baby in direct sun
- Try to keep in the shade as much as possible
- On boiling hot days consider visiting indoor places with air-con
- Breastfeed or bottle feed your baby more in hot weather
- Offer children more water to keep them hydrated
- Never leave your child alone in a hot car
- Do not cover your pram with a blanket, wrap, towel or jumper