Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather)

Baby safety in hot weather is an important topic at the moment with the continuing extreme temperatures in much of Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere at similar latitudes.
Unfortunately, one of my books, Feeding Baby & Child (Virginia Phillips, Hyland House, 1984, 1992), which has a whole chapter on hot weather care, is now out of print. However, here are a few quick tip:
- keep your baby indoors and out of direct or reflected heat as much as possible
- air-conditioning is desirable. If you don't have it, electric fans do a better job if wet towels are hung over furniture (NOT the  baby's cot, for safely issues) as evaporation caused coolness
- if you don't have air-conditioning, shopping centres do, and are a good place to visit on the hottest days
- NEVER leave your baby in the car - risks include overheating and dehydration (which can happen quickly and be fatal), and if you leave the air-conditioning on with the keys in the car, there is the risk of a car-jacking with your baby in the car
- if you really have to go out, avoid the middle of the day if you can and make sure your baby is shaded
- the beach is NOT a safe place for a baby in the daytime, because there is reflective heat from the sun shining on the sand and water, as well as direct heat. If you want to go to the beach, go very late in the day and protect your baby
- for the pool (late in the day when the sun in low, e.g. after 4 or 5 pm), babies - just like other children - need to wear sun-safe tops with long sleeves to protect their delicate skins. In fact, in schools in North Queensland sun-safe clothing in the pool is mandatory for swimming classes. It is needed for babies, too.
- the coolest parts of the house are away from the windows and the outside walls (which can get very hot) and in an internal doorway. You can check which spots have a  better current of air if you hang a mobile in different areas. (I found this a useful way to check when my youngest was a baby, it was over 40 degrees Celcius, and we didn't have air-conditioning.)
Note: Vitamin D is a different issue. What I'm talking about is safety in extreme conditions. Stay safe this long summer.

22 Comments to Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather):

Comments RSS
Virginia Thorley on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 9:58 AM
I forgot to include in my post the importance of sponging babies with tap water to keep them cool in extreme heat. In these conditions doing this is very necessary and important for heat safety if there isn't air-conditioning. Doing it under the fan may be necessary in these weather conditions. Lots of breastfeeds are important, too. Your baby may breastfeed more often, with short feeds for fluid. Some babies may only take longer feeds when the sun is lower, such as early in the morning, in the late afternoon or evening, or at night. They catch up then! If your baby is hot while feeding, it can help to sponge her with water halfway through the feed, and then resume feeding, with your baby just in a nappy (diaper). If you need individual assistance learning how to care for your baby in very hot weather, you may want to make an appointment with me. See my contact details on the "Contact Us" page of this website.
Reply to comment

Hilary on Thursday, 9 January 2014 4:40 AM
I found that it was unpleasantly sweaty to have my naked babies' skin directly on my naked arm while I was nursing them in the summer heat, so I tended to put a clean, flat diaper (nappy) or other light, thin cloth between me and my little ones for nursing sessions during the heat of the day. It kept both of us much more comfortable!
Reply to comment

Virginia Thorley on Thursday, 9 January 2014 9:30 AM
Hilary, I know what you mean - being hot and clammy can make feed times unpleasant in very hot weather. I note that you have had experiences with several babies and it is good of you to share this. A soft cloth between mother and baby certainly helps when the temperature is very high, especially if it's humid. This cloth can be either dry or wet, depending on what is comfortable for mother and baby. If a baby feels hot to the touch, sponging down with cool water part way through a feed helps. Another strategy I foundnd helpful on the hottest days was lying down to feed, with a large towel under my baby and me, and - after getting a good latch - slightly angling my baby's body away from me while feeding. (Yes, skin-to-skin contact is important, but these are times when there are exceptional circumstances and comfort is an issue.) Having one of the feeds in a cool bath is another strategy, with a thick towel on the floor beside the bath to place the baby on before getting out. These are strategies I used as a young mother in a hot, arid climate, and which I've shared with many mothers over the years. It north-west Queensland back then, it took planning as the water in the tap was hot and the bath needed time to cool before we could get in. (For families with a toddler, the bathroomn door needs to be shut, for safety, while the water is cooling.)
Reply to comment
Virginia Thorley on Saturday, 18 January 2014 9:37 AM
For people living in the southern states of Australia, and affected by the emergency situation of the serious bushfires: Are you aware that ABC Local Radio is the emergency channel with up-to-date information about the situation in your area, when to evacuate, location of services, and other information. It is important to have spare batteries for your portable radio so that you can continue to receive important safety information. Stay safe and stay cool.

capstone research project on Monday, 20 January 2014 7:50 PM
Baby safety in hot weather is an important topic at the moment with the continuing extreme temperatures in much of Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere at similar latitudes.
Reply to comment
Weather This Week on Wednesday, 9 July 2014 10:33 PM
You need to be very attentive with babies during the hot weather, to keep them free from harm.

Pool Service Pompano Beach on Sunday, 2 February 2014 7:37 PM
I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather). I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.
Reply to comment

Virginia Thorley on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:33 AM
Thank you to those who have commented recently. I am glad you have found the blog articles informative. That is why I have posted them - to provide information on topical matters that you may not otherwise be able to find.
Reply to comment

Office Supplies Brisbane on Sunday, 16 March 2014 10:43 PM
It proved to be Very helpful to me thank for sharing
Reply to comment

Eddie Murphy on Saturday, 29 March 2014 10:38 PM
I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check frequently for some nice articles. I am quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!
Reply to comment

Virginia Thorley on Sunday, 27 April 2014 11:16 AM
Actually, I do speak at conferences and I also present education for professional groups, when invited. On this website on the "Events" page you can find a list of national or international conferences at which I'm speaking.
Reply to comment

Lucas on Thursday, 29 May 2014 9:55 PM
I am sure individuals like me will find your blog to be of great help and you covered all the major points and made it very informative.
Reply to comment

seo company in jaipur on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 7:17 AM
very nice article Good work
Reply to comment

Loared on Friday, 6 February 2015 5:18 AM
Reply to comment

New born baby care on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 3:31 PM
Thank you very much for sharing this useful information. I was doing a project and for that I was looking for related information. Some of the points are very useful. Do share some more material if you have.
Reply to comment
Virginia Thorley on Monday, 28 December 2015 9:48 PM
To "New born baby care": I am glad the information here was useful and I hope your project went well.

Sandra on Monday, 28 December 2015 3:42 PM
Infant security in hot climate is an imperative subject right now with the proceeding with great temperatures in a lot of Australia and different parts of the Southern Hemisphere at comparative scopes. Thanks for this post.
Reply to comment

Jame on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 2:12 AM
very nice article Good work!!!!!
Reply to comment

Rua on Sunday, 17 April 2016 6:41 AM
Child well-being in hot climate is a vital subject right now with the proceeding with great temperatures in quite a bit of Australia and different parts of the Southern Hemisphere at comparable scopes. Thank you so much.
Reply to comment

www.applebabies.ca on Thursday, 22 December 2016 4:26 PM
You can check which spots have a superior current of air on the off chance that you hang a portable in various territories. I discovered this a helpful approach to check when my most youthful was a child, it was more than forty degrees celcius, and we didn't have aerating and cooling.
Reply to comment

Virginia Thorley on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 1:23 PM
Yes, hanging a portable item such as a mobile can help find where there is a current of air in the home. This may be in a central corridor or hallway - which is a surprise, but it is often so.
Reply to comment

www on Thursday, 26 October 2017 6:17 PM
Great site!
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint