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Summer Baby Dangers

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

Bug Spray
While a mosquito bite isn’t necessarily anything to worry about, the real hazard when it comes to babies and bugs is the stuff you use to keep those creepy crawlers at bay. The AAP advises against using insect repellent on babies under two months old. For children older than two months, choose a spray with a DEET concentration of 30 percent or less, and do not apply more than once a day. Also, avoid any products that combine DEET and sunscreen -- DEET can make SPF less effective, and SPF needs to be reapplied every few hours, but anything with DEET should not be reapplied. When applying repellent, make sure you’re in an open area outside, don’t spray on or near your child’s face (especially around the mouth or eyes), avoid any cuts or irritated skin, and wash your baby’s skin with soap and water after coming inside. Still bugged out by bug spray? (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.) Here are some chemical-free ways to protect your baby from bugs: Avoid areas where bugs tend to hang out (like near flowers, standing water and brush areas) and use netting over your stroller or baby carrier.

Bee Stings
Bug bites are more annoying than dangerous for your little one, but a bee sting is another story. Yes, even babies can be allergic to bee stings. So if baby develops a rash, fever or other reaction after being stung, take her to a doctor right away. And did you know that you should also remove the stinger immediately? Yep, it’ll prevent a large amount of the venom from being pumped into baby’s skin. Just gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail. Ease pain or swelling by soaking a cloth in cold water and pressing it over the bite.

Open Windows
You may not realize how easy it is for even very young babies to roll, wiggle, push or crawl out of open and, yes, even screened windows. So install window guards near changing tables, cribs and any other areas where baby may be crawling or playing.

Too Much to Drink
Believe it or not, dehydration is not a big risk for babies in summer, says Gardner. Babies will let you know when they’re thirsty or hungry, so there’s no need to force fluids just because it’s hot out. And when you feed baby juice and water too early, you run the risk that she won’t take in enough breast milk or formula (and all the important nutrients they contain). Plus, feeding infants juice may lead to tooth decay and obesity.

Beds for Baby
Hitting the road for a summer vacation or visit with grandma and grandpa? Be sure to bring a portable crib or bassinet (or call ahead to make sure there’s one at your destination). Don’t make do by placing baby in the bed with you -- if you roll over onto her in your sleep, or if she rolls over onto a pillow or blanket, there’s a risk she could suffocate, warns Gardner. If a well-meaning grandparent is already spoiling baby with a crib full of blankies, toys and stuffed animals, take them out before putting her down for a nap. You want to have as little in the crib as possible, advises Gardner. That means no stuffed animals, pillows or monitors -- just a tight, fitted sheet. Blankets aren’t recommended either, but if the AC’s blasting and you’re worried baby will get cold, tuck a thin, light blanket (note: not a comforter) around the foot of the crib mattress, so it just reaches her belly. Also, make sure to set up the crib far away from any plugs or curtain cords, which can get pulled into the crib and create a choking risk. Use the Summertime Safety Checklist to keep baby safe in the sun.

Expert: Garry Gardner, MD, chair of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics

-- Kristin Koch

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