Read on for tips and tricks on how to make sure your children stay comfortable when the weather heats up.
The warm weather makes most things child-related easier – you don’t have to put multiple layers on them before they go out, for example. But it makes some things much more complicated, like keeping them safe in the sun for starters. Then of course making sure they are comfortable when temperatures climb.
High temperatures can affect people’s health, and babies and young children are more at risk (NHS, 2019; NHS, 2021a; Department of Health and Social Care, 2022). So here are our tips for keeping your children cool.
1. Keeping cool at home
Close curtains in rooms that face the sun (NHS, 2019) and open windows if the air outside is cooler than the air inside (Department of Health and Social Care, 2022).
If the temperature is below 35°C, fans can be a handy tool for keeping children cool. This may not often be a worry in the UK but it’s worth noting if you’re abroad. Remember to never aim the fan directly at the body as that can cause dehydration (Department of Health and Social Care, 2022).
2. Stop thirst
Make sure you and your children stay hydrated with regular drinks (Department of Health and Social Care, 2022). Always take water with you if you go out (NHS, 2019).
You could also give your children the occasional lolly and other foods with a high water content, such as fruit or salad (NHS, 2021b). Undiluted fruit juice or smoothies can cause tooth decay, so are not recommended for children under 5 years old (NHS, 2021b).
3. Fill up the paddling pool
Ah, the trusty paddling pool. Dig it out, fill it up and set it up in the shade, where you can supervise from a deck chair (NHS, 2021b). Here’s how to get through the hot months when you have a toddler.
If you don’t have an outside space for a paddling pool, you could give your child a cool bath to get their temperature down. This might be helpful before bedtime (NHS, 2021b).
4. Avoid the car
Cars are heat traps and it can be hard to stay cool in your vehicle – unless it’s got proper air conditioning. When the weather is really warm, why not keep it local and go somewhere like your nearby park. For more ideas on fun, local summer activities, see our article here.
You could also try travelling early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature’s lower. Do make sure you never leave a baby or toddler in a hot car, even for a minute or two.
5. Avoid the sun
Keep young children out of the sun during the hottest part of the day: between 11am and 3pm (NHS, 2021a,b). When you do go out, dress them in light coloured, loose clothing (NHS, 2021a; Department of Health and Social Care, 2022). And use sunscreen with a factor of at least 30 to protect your child’s skin (NHS, 2021b).
You thought you had hurdles to climb in life, and then you tried to get a hat on a toddler. We’ve all been there. If you’re not staying in the shade, then a hat will protect them from the sun.
The ideal hat is one with a wide brim and a flap to cover their neck (NHS, 2021b). Try an elasticated or Velcro strap that tucks under their chin to keep it in place.
You could also get a hat for yourself or their favourite teddy to persuade them this is a club they totally want to join. Read our sun safety article: Sun safety for kids for more information.
6. Keeping cool at night
Be prepared even when it’s 2pm and bedtime isn’t in your brain yet, and think about how you can cool your child’s room before they sleep. Use shades or light-coloured curtains to block out the daytime sun and use a fan to circulate the air (NHS, 2019; NHS, 2021b). Open windows on the cool side of your living space, ensuring that small children can’t climb out or reach them.
A baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16°C and 20°C. For younger ones, a room thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature (NHS, 2021b).
Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum. If it’s very hot, you can just go with a nappy, maybe adding a single well-secured sheet that won’t come loose during the night (NHS, 2021b).
This page was last reviewed in July 2022.
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You might find attending one of our Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
Department of Health and Social Care. (2022) Beat the heat: staying safe in hot weather. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england/be… [Accessed 13th July 2022]
NHS. (2019) Heatwave: how to cope in hot weather. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/livewell/summerhealth/pages/heatwave.aspx [Accessed 19th July 2022]
NHS. (2021a) Heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/ [Accessed 13th July 2022]
NHS. (2021b) Keeping your baby safe in the sun. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/first-aid-and-safety/safety/safety-i… [Accessed 19th July 2022]