How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer

Hot weather can be particularly harmful to babies. Knowing how to keep baby cool is an absolutely crucial parenting skill. Here you’ll find out how to keep your baby cool in summer.

It’s so important that we know how to cool baby down and keep baby cool in hot weather. Here I’m going to share some simple tips on how to keep baby cool in summer.

Did you know that babies can’t regulate their own body temperature? They are completely helpless when it comes to keeping warm or cooling down.

Because babies are unable to regulate their own body temperature, parents and care-givers need to be extra attentive when the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold.

Even toddlers and smaller kids are more susceptible to temperature changes than adults.

In hot weather dehydration and heat exhaustion can cause your baby to become very poorly, very quickly.

That summer heatwave is potentially deadly to babies, both newborns and older babies too.

How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer - image of a baby with a cartoon sunshine

And this is why it’s so important that we know how to cool baby down and keep baby cool in hot weather.

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How to Keep Baby Cool in Hot Weather

We Brits love a little summer sunshine. Probably because we don’t get much of it! And so when the temperature starts to rise, we’re not actually very good at knowing how to deal with it.

And, let’s face it, if there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s having a good old moan about the British weather. We spend winter moaning about the cold, and summer moaning about the heat.

It’s really easy for adults to cool down in hot weather. We can grab a cold glass of water out the fridge, move into the shade, open a window, reduce the number of layers we’re wearing or have a cold shower.

Babies can’t do any of these things for themselves.

So here’s a quick list of some simple things we can do to help keep babies cool in summer. We’ll cover them in more detail later.

  • keep babies out of direct sunlight, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest (between 11am and 3pm)
  • make sure baby is hydrated – drink more water yourself if you’re exclusively breastfeeding
  • never, ever put a blanket or muslin cloth over the opening of baby’s pram, pushchair or car seat to keep the sun off them! Use a parasol or car window shade to keep them out of direct sunlight
  • dress your little one in cooling baby clothes
  • spray baby’s feet and hands with cooled water
  • keep curtains drawn, or blinds closed, with the window open in baby’s room
  • use a fan
  • try giving baby a cool bath

Keeping Babies Cool

Avoid Going Outside

Generally speaking, in summer the temperature is hotter outside than it is inside during the daytime. Even if you don’t have air conditioning – something not many Brits have!

A simple method for keeping babies cool is to avoid taking them outside, particularly during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm).

It’s really important to keep babies out of direct sunlight, especially as it is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age to wear sunscreen.

If you do have do go out, make sure baby is covered from head to toe in cooling baby clothes, including socks and a wide-brimmed hat.

And try to keep baby in the shade as much as possible.

I strongly recommend using a pram parasol if you do have to venture outside where there’s no natural shade. We had one of these because they’re made from UPF 50+ fabric.

Keep Baby Hydrated

If your baby is exclusively breastfed then do not be tempted to give them an additional drink of water. An exclusively breastfed baby will get all the hydration they need from their mother’s milk.

So, with that in mind, if you’re breastfeeding you should keep yourself extra-hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and expect that baby is going to want more feeds in hot weather. This includes night feeds too.

For babies who are formula or bottle fed, you might want to consider giving them a drink of cooled boiled water. Boil the water to kill any germs, but make sure it’s thoroughly cooled before offering it to baby.

For older babies, and babies who are weaning, offer sips of water from a cup or beaker throughout the day and at meal times. But remember the NHS recommends that breastmilk or formula should still be baby’s main drink until they’re over 12 months old.

Never Cover the Opening of Baby’s Pram or Car Seat with a Blanket

Okay so I said above that babies under 6 months old shouldn’t wear sunscreen, and that babies need to be kept out of direct sunlight.

It might be tempting to keep the sun off of baby by draping a blanket over the opening of their pram, pushchair or car sear. Please don’t do this – ever!

Covering a pram, pushchair or carseat with a blanket – even thin material – restricts the air flow around baby and it is deadly. It increases the risk of heatstroke and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Researchers in Sweden found that covering a pram with a thin material for just 30 mins increased the temperature in the pram from 22oC to 34oC. After an hour it had reached 37oC! This is far hotter than an average summer day in Britain.

If you do need to create some shade while your baby is in the pram, then do as I said above and invest in a good quality parasol like these.

Cool Baby Down with Water

Newborn babies can’t sweat in the same way that adults can, because their sweat glands are not fully developed for the first couple of weeks. And older babies don’t sweat in the same way as adults do either.

Sweating is nature’s way of cooling down. The moisture that’s produced through sweating evaporates on the skin, leaving it to feel cooler.

Since babies don’t do this very well on their own, you could try using a cooling mist spray, such as this one that’s suitable for babies and children.

Playing in a covered paddling pool is a fun and effective way to keep cool in summer. I really like this 3-in-1 baby tent, because it’s designed for babies from birth to around 18 months and it’s made with UV protective fabric.

Just remember that babies and children should be supervised at all times when playing in a paddling pool.

And try running a nice cool bath to keep baby cool before bedtime.

How to Keep Baby Cool at Night in Summer

The ideal temperature for baby’s room is between 16oC and 20oC, with 18oC being optimum.

We used a Gro Egg to monitor the temperature of both GinGin and Roo’s bedroom when they were babies. Honestly, it was probably one of the most useful baby things we bought.

Our Gro Egg made it super-easy for us to see if their room was too hot or too cold.

Cool Baby’s Room

The best way to keep baby cool in hot weather at night is to cool down baby’s room before bedtime.

Draw the curtains or close the blinds but keep the window open during the day or evening. Doing this will keep the sun out of baby’s room, at the same time letting fresh air flow in through the room.

Opening several windows around the house will help fresh air circulate.

If there’s no breeze and you don’t have air con, then try using a fan in baby’s room to help move the air and cool the room.

Pointing a fan towards a damp towel or sheet will help to cool a room more quickly. It has the same effect that sweating has on humans. The evaporating moisture will cool down the air.

Depending on the amount of room you have, you could have a standing fan or one designed to go on a desk. Either way, you’ll want one that’s quiet.

It’s worth remembering that most fans draw in air from the back of the fan. If your landing is cooler than baby’s room, put the fan in the doorway to draw in the colder air and cool baby’s room more quickly.

Cooling Baby Clothes for Bedtime

However tempting it may be to let a newborn baby sleep in just a nappy on a hot night, it’s not recommended.

This is because newborn babies can’t regulate their body temperature and they lose body heat roughly four times faster than adults.

So you might be asking “how can I keep my baby cool at night in summer?”

Newborn babies should sleep in a cotton sleepsuit, or babygrow. We used ones that had closed toes and built-in scratch mits, like this one from Frugi.

When GinGin and Roo got to about 3 months old we started using Grow Bags. These are baby sleeping bags, and they’re sometimes also known as dreampods.

My advice would be to buy a couple of really good quality ones like these ones from Mamas and Papas. They’re well worth the money and they last really well – even when you have to wash them loads!

How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer: FAQs

How hot is too hot for baby?
Avoid taking baby outside if the temperature is hotter than 26 degrees Celsius. The ideal temperature of a room where baby sleeps is between 16oC and 20oC, with 18oC being optimum in both summer and winter.

Do babies cry if they’re too hot?
Yes. And no.
Babies are far more likely to cry if they’re cold. A baby that is over-heating is more likely to be lethargic, which isn’t helpful if they’re already asleep. So, to be sure, check the room temperature and then check baby’s body temperature by feeling their chest or nape of their neck.

How do I know if my baby is too hot while sleeping?
If baby’s hair is wet from sweat then she’s too hot. You can also check a baby’s temperature by feeling their chest or the nape of their neck. If it feels hot and clammy, then baby is too hot.

Is it ok to have a fan on with a newborn?
Yep. Research shows that increasing air flow in baby’s room could lower the risk of SIDS.

How can I keep my baby cool without air conditioning?
Put a damp towel, bowl of water or ice in front of a fan. This will cause the air to cool down much more quickly than just using a fan by itself.

Do babies sleep better in a cooler room?
No. A cold baby will be an uncomfortable baby, which will make her fussy and irritable. The ideal temperature for the room baby sleeps in is between 16oC and 20oC, with 18oC being optimum in both summer and winter.

What Next?

Read these posts next or bookmark them for later:

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How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer - image of a baby with a cartoon sunshine
How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer - image of a baby with a cartoon sunshine
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Jennie (GinGin & Roo)
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m the blogger and content creator behind the award-winning blog GinGin & Roo, a UK parenting and lifestyle blog.

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4 Comments

  1. Marina
    July 27, 2021 / 10:28 pm

    Thanks for tones of ideas! I’m trying to power through the 18 months regression lately. Since the weather is hotter – the training got stuck. I believe it’s just too hot to expect the result so thanks for the tips how to control the situation.

    • July 29, 2021 / 10:34 am

      Hi Marina,

      Sleep regression is the worst! And it’s something I’d not even heard of with my first baby. It’s like you get into a routine and then – bam! – baby needs a new routine and it can be brutal! I think the heat makes it harder for everyone to sleep, but it’s definitely going to interrupt baby’s routine. There’s some ideas here for keeping baby cool at night in summer. Let me know if they work for you 🙂

  2. Marnie
    July 25, 2021 / 10:41 am

    Great tips! I love the one about spraying baby’s hands and feet with water. Marnie xx

    • July 29, 2021 / 10:32 am

      Hi Marnie,

      Yes spraying hands and feet with a cooling spritz is something that’s often recommended during pregnancy, but it works great for babies too 🙂

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