THE UK is set to be hit by a heatwave this week, with temperatures rising to 25C in parts of the country and smash the current March record.
But while many of us enjoy the sunny weather, the hottest day of the year can bring its challenges – especially when it comes to keeping young children cool.
How to keep your baby's room cool in the UK heatwave
During times of extreme heat, bedroom temperatures can hover above 30 degrees.
Ensuring your little one sleeps safely in hot weather is essential.
We spoke to maternity nurse and sleep consultant Abi Thompson, a mum-of-three and managing director of Baby Sound Asleep, to get her top tips for keeping little ones cool at night.
Abi said: "Babies can't manage their temperatures as well as an adult can.
"Nor can they let us know if they are too hot or too cold, so we need to follow their symptoms and dress them correctly to avoid dehydration.
"All babies are different. You should be regularly checking them for overheating by touching the back of their neck, not checking hands or feet, which are always cooler."
How can you monitor the temperature in the bedroom
To keep an eye on the rising heat levels in your baby's room, Abi recommends installing a thermometer.
She explained: "One of my top buys is the Gro-Egg. It is an accurate way of reading the temperature of your baby’s room.
"In the UK temperatures can change rapidly, so regularly check it throughout the night.
"Make sure you open the windows and partially close the blinds several hours before nap time and bedtime.
"This helps to stop the room heating up in direct sunlight, but still allows the flow of air.
"A fan will keep the air moving through the room and create a very welcome breeze. Bottles of frozen water in front of the fan will help to cool the room down quicker."
What should a baby wear when it is hot?
When the temperature exceeds 27 degrees, Abi suggests that a nappy is all a baby should be in, day and night.
When between 24 and 27 degrees, she advises a short-sleeved vest and a 0.5 tog sleeping bag.
Abi explained: "I am a big fan of sleeping bags. They are available in numerous tog ratings, from 3.5 tog to 0.5 tog. The latter is useful for hot weather.
"As the temperature fluctuates you may need to remove it, or add more layers.
"Don’t be afraid to disturb your baby’s sleep – keeping them safe is the priority."
Abi’s top tips for keeping babies cool
- Use a room thermometer to keep a regular eye on the temperature
- Safe bedtime clothes – she recommends a 0.5 tog sleeping bag
- A cooler bath than usual before bed
- Open windows and keep blinds partially down – Make sure you do this several hours before nap time and bedtime. Keeping the blind partially down helps to stop the room heating up in direct sunlight but still allows the flow of air.
- Use a fan
- Increase their fluid intake
- Check them regularly, taking their temperature from the back of their neck
- Don’t be afraid to disturb your baby’s sleep – keeping them safe is the priority
Before bed, Abi recommends giving your baby a cooler than normal bath during a heatwave.
"Your baby will be sweaty and clammy as sweating is babies’ natural way to regulate their temperature," she said.
Abi explained that babies may also need to up their fluid intake during hot weather periods.
Babies under the age of six months should only be given breast milk or formula, as water can prove dangerous to their underdeveloped kidneys, doctors have warned.
But over six months, babies can take small sips of water, Abi said.
She said: "Breast milk is as hydrating as water, so no additional water is required for breastfed babies, though they may need increased feeds.
"Formula fed babies should be offered cooled boiled water in excessive heat. I try not to do this too close to a feed (within 30 minutes) so that they still feel hungry for their milk feeds.
"It is also important to note that strict feeding regimes are not important at this time.
"Babies need lots of fluids on demand. I have been recommending dreamfeeds (feeding baby whilst asleep) to parents who are struggle to get fluids into their babies."
Abi added: "What is essential to note is this is just a guide. As ever, my advice is just that – advice – to help guide a parent when making decisions for their own baby."
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