No one has to tell us here in Denver, its summer time. For a new mom or dad, every hike, every trip to the park, every picnic becomes a new experience as we see the world with new eyes, as our babies experience it.
But summer comes with a few cautions, because ccasionally, new parents, especially those who may never have spent much time around babies, need to be reminded of a few simple safety issues for your excursions.
Water and fluids – we live in a dry state and it’s easy to get dehydrated. When you need water, your baby needs fluids too, and probably before you do. Make sure you take along more than you think you’ll need (easy when breastfeeding) of water, formula, Pedialyte, or whatever your baby needs to drink to keep hydrated.
Sun screen is not optional – you might be sun-toughened and tanned, but that wonderful “new-baby” skin is not, nor should it be. Baby’s skin is thinner than an adults, has very little melanin, the pigment that gives skin color, and ten times more sensitive to environmental factors. It burns easier; it’s brand new, after all. If you’re going to be at the beach for the day, think about baby sun shirts with UV protection in the fabric. Remember to pack along a broad spectrum sun screen of at least SPF 50 like Neutrogena’s “pure and free® baby” (SPF 60+ and fragrance free) or if you’re going to be near water, a sun screen like Coppertone® Water BABIES.a
Put a hat on baby – Hat’s shield baby’s head, as well as her eyes, from the heat of the sun and will help keep her cooler. It’s not too early to get her used to something on her head now (after all winter is coming and you’re going to want to cover her head in the cold too.) Wear one yourself and baby will see it as something the family does.
Watch out for sun in baby’ eyes – With or without a hat on, pay attention to the times when you’re hiking, taking a walk, even putting baby in the car, not just while traveling. Even a few minutes of direct sunlight at high altitudes can be too much for some babies to take. Their reflexes for blinking, to protect their eyes aren’t fully-developed and the only way they can tell you it’s too much is to cry.
Bugs bite – We don’t have many bugs out here in our dry climate and most bites aren’t serious. You can apply a topical hydrocortisone cream or a paste made up of baking soda and water to relive the itch But if a bite turns red and the swelling continues to get larger, or if the redness migrates along the body, your baby might be having a reaction. If he begins to have difficulty swallowing or breathing, get him to a doctor immediately.
Don’t forget me in the car! – this is the first rule and the last rule for new parents. You would think it is obvious, but sleep-deprived new parents, who have not yet settled into a routine, have been known to simply forget a sleeping baby in a car. Heat stroke can happen in even a few minutes and there are several cases every summer. Just a few weeks ago a baby was left in the car in triple-digit temperatures in Fresno, California, and died. “Somewhere in the exchange of getting the groceries out and the kids, everyone thought someone else had gotten the baby out,” said Fresno Police.
Make sure the whole family is safe on your adventures this summer!