9 Surprising Summer Dangers for Baby
Make sure you’re prepared for the warm-weather risks you may not know about. Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump
Sun and Sunscreen
While you probably already know the importance of protecting your baby’s skin from sunburn, you may not realize just how sensitive an infant’s skin is to sunscreens. For babies under six months old, Garry Gardner, MD, chair of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), says it’s best to just avoid direct sun exposure altogether when you can. When you are out in the sun, use sun hats, umbrellas and baby-size shades, and apply sunscreen only on small areas of the body (think: the face and back of hands). For babies older than six months, you can use a little bit of sunscreen on any area of exposed skin -- just pick one designed and labeled for babies. Be sure to test it on a small area of your baby’s skin first, and if a rash develops, call your doctor. No matter what your child’s age (or mom’s age, for that matter), it’s still important to avoid direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
When the heat is on, limit how much time you spend outside with your little one. Heading out with baby in tow for an hour or so is fine -- as long as you stay in the shade (or under an umbrella). But if you’re planning to be at the pool or beach all day, hire a sitter to stay inside with baby, advises Gardner. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke, especially if they’re not used to the warm weather (like if it’s their first summer ever, and you don’t live in Florida or some other warm-weather locale).
We know that you know to keep a very close eye on baby when you’re at the beach or pool (and if you have a pool in your backyard, to keep it fenced off). But you may not realize that even baby pools aren’t completely safe for little ones -- babies can (and do) drown in less than two inches of water. So, sure, let baby splash around in one (she’ll probably love it) -- just don’t think you can let your guard down just because there’s barely any water in there (same goes for bathtubs and even small buckets of water).
The grass may seem like a soft, safe place for baby, but there are two main things to watch: Plants are the leading cause of poisoning among children, and like puppies, babies will put just about anything in their mouths. So be sure to remove or fence off any poisonous plants. Call your local Poison Help Line (800-222-1222) to get a complete list of poisonous plants common to your area. The second big danger in your yard is the stuff you spray to get rid of weeds and keep pests off your flowers and plants (aka pesticides and herbicides). Don’t let your baby play in the backyard for at least 48 hours after it’s been treated, recommends the AAP.
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