Keeping kids cool in the heat

Read up on our tips to make sure little ones stay safe in the sunshine.

As temperatures rise this month, it’s so important to keep our little ones cool and comfortable. Hot weather can be especially challenging for babies and young children, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses like dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Since they aren’t as efficient at regulating their temperature as adults, parents need to take extra steps to ensure their safety. Here, we take a look at some practical tips to help keep kids safe as the weather heats up!

Dress appropriately

Dressing your baby or young child in the right clothing is one of the simplest ways to keep them cool. Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics like cotton. Light-coloured clothing is also beneficial as it reflects, rather than absorbs, the sun’s rays.

For babies, a single layer of loose clothing is usually all that’s needed. Adding a wide-brimmed hat can offer extra protection from direct sunlight when you’re outdoors.


Keeping young children properly hydrated is essential in hot weather. Babies and young kids can quickly become dehydrated, so be sure to offer your little ones fluids frequently, through water and water-rich foods like fruit.

For babies under six months, breast milk or formula is typically enough, but consider more frequent feeds just in case. For older babies and toddlers, aim to offer water regularly and be vigilant for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, fewer wet diapers, and unusual lethargy, especially on particularly hot days.

A cool environment

Keeping your home cool can significantly help kids cope with the heat outside. Use fans or air conditioning to keep the room temperature comfortable and if air conditioning isn’t available, consider spending time in air-conditioned public places like malls or play centres. In your children’s bedrooms, choose light bedding and consider using an additional fan to circulate air for them. Closing blinds or curtains during the hottest parts of the day can also prevent their rooms from heating up.

Limit outdoor activities

During the peak hours of heat, it’s best to limit outdoor activities. If you must go outside with your children, try to stay in shaded areas and keep activities calm to avoid overheating. Early mornings or  early evenings are better times for outdoor play as temperatures tend to be lower.

Baths and wet cloths

A quick and effective way to cool down a hot child is by giving them a lukewarm bath or using wet cloths. Avoid very cold water as it can cause shivering, which actually generates more heat. Instead, use lukewarm water for baths or wipe down your child with a damp cloth to help reduce their body temperature gradually.

Monitor for heat-related illnesses

Parents should be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses, which can escalate quickly in young children. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea and headache.

Heatstroke is more severe and can present with symptoms like a high body temperature (above 103°F), rapid pulse, confusion and loss of consciousness. If you suspect your child is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Provide cooling snacks

Offering cooling snacks can also help keep children hydrated and temperate. Fruits like chilled watermelon, cucumber sticks and orange segments have a high water content and are super refreshing. Homemade ice pops made from pureed fruit or juice are also a fun and hydrating treat that go down well with little ones!

Safe sleep practices

A significant aspect of keeping babies and young children cool is ensuring their sleep environment is safe and comfortable. Overheating during sleep is a very common concern, particularly for infants. Always use lightweight, breathable fabrics for bedding and sleepwear and avoid using heavy blankets or overdressing your child for slumber. A sleep sack made of lightweight material can be a good alternative to traditional blankets, providing warmth and comfort for your little one, without the risk of overheating.

It’s also important to regularly check your child’s temperature by feeling their neck or back. If they seem too warm, adjust their bedding or sleepwear accordingly. Ensuring their sleep area is well-ventilated can also help – keeping a fan in the room to circulate air can make a substantial difference too.

Create a relaxing routine

It might not seem obvious but incorporating relaxing activities into your child’s daily routine may help them stay calm and cool during really hot weather. Reading stories, playing quiet games or doing simple puzzles can keep your child entertained without generating an excessive amount of body heat. Establishing a calming bedtime routine with a lukewarm bath, followed by some quiet time, can also help them wind down and sleep better in the heat.

Stay informed

Stay informed about the weather forecast and heat advice in your area. On particularly hot days, take extra precautions to keep your child cool and hydrated. Public service announcements and weather apps can give you useful information on the best times to stay indoors and when it’s safe to venture outside.

Making sure your baby or young child stays cool, comfortable and safe during the hot summer months involves a combination of proactive measures and being mindful. There’s no need to worry – by adopting these practices and staying vigilant, you’ll be well-prepared to beat the heat!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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