BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – With temperatures warming up and summer on the way, parents are looking for ways to protect their children from the sun and heat. But doctors are warning parents of one dangerous combination that could be putting children at risk.
It’s a mistake that doctors say many parents make, and it can not only be dangerous for children but can be deadly for an infant.
While out in the sun during the warmer months, some parents choose to cover their child’s stroller with a blanket to shield them from the sun, but that can block the airflow, creating a furnace-like effect.
Swedish researchers found that on a mild day with temperatures in the 70s just a thin blanket can spike the temperature inside the stroller to more than 90 degrees in only 30 minutes. After an hour, the temperature can reach nearly 100 degrees.
The stroller doesn’t have to be fully covered for the temperatures to rise. Anything that restricts the airflow can cause the baby to overheat.
“Infants have a very difficult time regulating their internal temperature. They get hot quicker and often times they don’t have the ability to lower that temperature,” said Stephanie Weigel, injury prevention coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital. “We think covering them with a blanket is shielding them from sun or insects or other things but in actuality, we are creating a very dangerous and potentially deadly environment for our little ones.”
Signs of overheating for a child or infant include red skin, sweating and fussy behavior.
Weigel said instead of using a blanket to shield your child from the sun, find a shady spot and make sure your child is hydrated.
“If Baby is still breastfeeding, offering breast milk or formula or water often depending on age-appropriateness,” Weigel said.
Sun exposure should be limited during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Watch: Summertime mistakes that parents make: Part 2
If you have to be out during that time, children 6 months and older should have sunscreen applied. Some sunscreen can usually be applied to children under 6 months, but check with your pediatrician to find out how much and how often it should be applied.
It’s also important when shopping for strollers to look for a light, cool fabric to help keep the child cool.