A heatwave might be something many of us celebrate in the summer holidays, but knowing how to keep a baby cool in hot weather is vital – whether you're at home or going abroad.
Below, we give you some easy tips to follow to stick to so that you can ensure your baby stays safe, hydrated and happy in hot weather.
1. Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day
The hottest part of the day is between 11am and 3pm, so if you can keep your baby indoors, out of the heat, during those times, then do. Going out? Keep them in the shade as much as possible, ideally with an adjustable parasol, that can offer shade but will allow air flow through the pram or buggy.
2. Protect your baby from direct sunlight
Do not expose babies' skin to direct sunlight, especially if they are younger than six months old – they simply don't have the melanin levels that can protect them a little as they get older.
As added protection, pop a sun hat on your baby, ensuring it has a brim to protect both your baby's face and neck. Look for one that's made with a breathable material so that your baby's heat won't get hot.
Ever thought you should add sun screen to your baby? You should – and not just on holiday. Choose a product designed for babies or children with an SPF of at least 15 and which protects against UVB and UVA rays. Keep it applied throughout the days.
3. Keep your baby hydrated
This is vital. If you're still breast feeding, NHS advice is that you don't need to give them water too – but you may find they're thirstier for your milk than usual. If you're bottle-feeding, give your baby cooled boiled water in between feeds. Again, NHS advice is that if your baby wakes at night during hot weather and has had his/her feed already, try cooled, boiled water first.
Other ways to keep your baby cool, especially if they're disinterested in drinking just water? If they're over six months old, you can swap water for diluted fruit juice or home made ice cubes on sticks they can hold (just be ready to grab the stick when they're finished). And if they're on solids, swapping hot meals for chilled food, and supplementing their diet with salads and fruits will help them feel cool and keep them hydrated during the day.
4. Strip them down to nappies only
When the temperature reaches over 23ºC, ditch the layers for a cool, cotton, short-sleeved body suit and hat. Hotter than 27ºC and you can put them in a nappy only.
5. How to keep a baby's bedroom cool
You can use many of the tips in our feature on how to cool down a room fast to keep your baby's nursery cool. But the simplest tips are: close blinds or curtains during the day to keep the room temperature down, and use a fan with a bowl of ice in front of it to circulate cool air in the room. Use our buyer's guide to the best fans to find one that suits you.
6. Keep baby cool at bedtime
If your baby's due a bath, run a cool/lukewarm bath instead of the warm one you might normally run. If not, you can dab your baby's body with tepid – not cold – towels at bedtime.
Pick a baby monitor that has a thermometer within it so that you can keep an eye on the room temperature during the evening and night. Ideally it should be up to around 20ºC maximum for your baby to sleep comfortably. See our pick of the best baby monitors now; our top buy is the BT video baby monitor 6000, but there are tons of great choices on our list.
8. Make outdoor play fun – but cool
Your baby will love a paddling pool, but ensure the water's not too cold. Ideally it should only be slightly cooler than their bath. And don't forget the swim nappy if other children will be using it – or if you want to reuse the pool again later. Use our guide to the best paddling pools to find one you can order now for the weekend.
As your baby grows, other cooling garden toys will get lots of use – water tables, water pistols, water bombs... will all help your child enjoy a heatwave safely.