Many parents rightfully think that it’s important to protect their baby from the sun’s harmful rays on a warm day by placing a covering over their stroller.
But according to Thomas Phelps, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, placing a blanket over a baby in a stroller on a hot day can make a stroller as hot as the inside of a car. He said in very hot temperatures, doing so can put an infant at risk of overheating quickly.
“Temperature and time are so key,” said Dr. Phelps. “You could be in there for a minute, but if you’re in there for ten minutes and the temperature is 85, 90, 100 degrees, in that stroller, that temperature could be over 100 degrees.”
Dr. Phelps said anything over 80 degrees can be dangerous for a baby, as it puts them at risk of suffering hyperthermia or heat stroke.
He said the best thing to do on a sunny day, for those who happen to be out with their baby, is to look for natural shade.
“Think about what you do when you’re hot, so the big thing is looking for shade,” said Dr. Phelps. “If I’m hot, I’m going to try to find shade; I might try to find a breeze, I might try to go under an over-hang, under a tree.”
Dr. Phelps said if it’s necessary to be outside, keep the time very short and if it’s especially hot, it’s best to stay indoors.
For those who don’t have air conditioning at home, he recommends seeking shelter in a library or a shopping mall.
As for sun protection, Dr. Phelps said if a baby is under six months of age, they really shouldn’t be in the sun at all.
For babies older than six months, it’s okay to apply a baby sunscreen if they are going to be outside, but he says it’s best to keep time outside at a minimum.