Keeping Your Baby Cool and Cute in the Summer

Let your child enjoy the summer with these cool tips.

The summer is past its peak, but it’s not over yet. In fact, as The Weather Channel explained, some areas of the U.S. have to wait until September to reach their highest temperatures. This means there’s plenty of time for fun left, but it’s also important to keep summer safety in mind. Here’s how to keep your child cool and cute:

Grab a light wardrobe

Kids’ fashion has come a long way, so you have the chance to get really creative. You can dress your toddler like a super-chic Anna Wintour in the making, or grab a sleeveless flannel shirt and some baby Doc Martens for a mini-punk look. Just make sure the clothes you choose are summer-appropriate. The right cuts and fabric keep your child cool and help prevent heat-related illnesses.

When shopping for a summer wardrobe, choose loose, breezy fabrics made from 100 percent cotton. Avoid dark colors like black and navy; such hues absorb heat, increasing your little one’s body temperature. Opt for sturdy footwear with thick soles, especially if your toddler likes to climb and explore.

Also, if you plan to stay home all day and aren’t expecting any visitors, feel free to let your child run around naked! Just make sure to lather your baby up with sunscreen before going into the backyard – clothes or no clothes. The Environmental Working Group has a list of 19 baby sunscreen products with top ratings, so your summer safety regimen won’t include any harsh chemicals.

A pile of baby clothes in light shades of green, blue and pink.Choose cotton fabrics in a light colors to keep your toddler cool.

Guard against bugs and poisonous plants

Bug bites and the itchy, inflamed skin they leave behind are probably the least-liked aspect of summer. What’s worse, the number of insects infected with diseases is on the rise. This past June, a press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an increased number of disease-carrying mosquitoes were seen across the southern U.S. this year. These insects are known for spreading Zika virus, West Nile virus, Dengue fever and many other illnesses.

If you live in a grassy or wooded area, you must also look out for ticks. These pesky bloodsuckers are notorious for spreading Lyme disease, which affects the joints, heart and nervous system if left untreated. Additionally, toddlers that are allergic to bee stings need to be exceptionally careful in spring and summer.

To keep your toddler safe from insects, coat your child with an insect repellant. The brand you choose doesn’t matter, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends repellant with at least 10 percent DEET, the active ingredient. A higher concentration doesn’t increase your child’s protection; the repellant just lasts longer. A product with 10 percent DEET lasts for about two hours, while one with 30 percent lasts around five hours.

Below are a few other bug safety tips:

  • Ditch scented soaps and sprays, which might attract insects, for fragrance-free versions.
  • Avoid areas where bugs tend to nest, including pools of water (mosquitos), summer-blooming flowers (bees) and wooded areas (ticks).
  • Stay inside during mornings and evenings when gnats and mosquitos are most active.
Toddlers chasing bubbles outside.Use an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of 10 to 30 percent.

Prevent heat-related illnesses

According to the CDC, children under 4 are most at risk for developing a heat-related illness. These ailments include heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and symptoms range from small red blisters to nausea, headaches and possible loss of consciousness. Below are the specific symptoms of each, as well as treatment options, from the CDC:


IllnessSymptomsTreatment
Heat rash
  • Small, red blisters
  • Baby power
Sunburn
  • Painful, red skin
  • Blisters
  • Leave blisters to heal naturally
  • Keep the skin moisturized
  • Stay out of the sun until the burn heals
Heat cramps
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stop physical activity
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • If cramps last more than one hour, seek medical attention
Heat exhaustion
  • Heavy sweating
  • Pale, cold, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Exhaustion
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Move to a cool place
  • Remove clothes and drape body with cool, wet cloth
  • Take a cool bath
  • Sip water
  • Seek medical attention if your toddler throws up, if symptoms get worse or if symptoms last more than one hour
Heat stroke
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Call 911 immediately
  • Move to a cool place
  • Lower temperature with cool cloths or a bath
  • Don’t provide anything to drink

Of course, as with any medical condition, prevention is always best. Use the following tips to improve your toddler’s summer safety and avoid heat-related illnesses:

  • Dress your toddler in breathable, lightweight clothing that’s light in color.
  • Use cool, but not cold, water when bathing your child.
  • Stay indoors when it’s overly sunny and warm. Sunlight is strongest at noon, but the temperature doesn’t reach its peak until about 3 p.m.
  • Give your toddler plenty of access to cool (not cold) water.
  • Never leave your child in a parked car, even if the window is open.

Enjoying the last bit of summer

Summer is officially over on Sept. 22, so you’ve still got about a month to enjoy the season. Choose the right clothes, grab a bottle of baby sunscreen, protect yourselves from bugs and heat, and you’re ready to make the most of the last few weeks of the season.

Autumn Green is an artist-turned-writer who traded the sweet tea of the south for the deep dish pizza of Chicago. Her favorite subjects include art, culture, design, small business/entrepreneurship and healthful living.