Buy them a fedora, natch. No, really, that’s the first tip; it doesn’t have to be a fedora but they obviously need to have an array of hats. You’d think one or two would do, but at the rate my 2-year-old is losing them a surplus of hats is recommended.
OK, so it’s not exactly rocket science trying to keep the kids cool; throw them into a (shallow) paddling pool (water conservation; reuse the water for your favourite plants, etc, etc, etc), ply them with ice lollies telling yourself it’s one of their five-a-day, let them run around in the nude but with a sufficient layer of sunscreen, tell them to have fun – but not too much fun, the usual 21st century parenting lark. But, let’s say you have a newborn. And it’s your first newborn. You’re scared enough as it is, but now there’s also a bleedin’ heatwave to be dealing with too…
The firstborn was 3-months-old during the summer of 2013, the first summer we’d had in what seemed like a decade of endless driving rain and Umbrella-ella-ellas. In short, there was a bit of a meltdown on my behalf (that’d be the undiagnosed PND giving it welly), so a GroEgg was purchased because – apparently – a child under the age of 3 will self-combust if they’re in a room over 20 degrees 😦 That’s not me being facetious; the GroEgg displays a sad face when the room your child is sleeping in is over 22 degrees.
A fan was also purchased, AND there were endless hours of fretting over her bedding – longsleeved vest and no sleeping sack? Just a nappy and a sleeping sack?! SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT TO DO, I’M REALLY FUCKING TIRED AND OBVIOUSLY WE DON’T HAVE AIRCON, THIS IS IRELAND?!
OK, so, if this is you, here are some words of advice.
• Don’t freak out. There are newborns surviving all over the world in rooms warmer than 22 degrees. Yes, rooms probably have aircon, but don’t find yourself freaking the fuck out over one degree. Just try regulate the room the best you can.
• If you’re used to giving the chisler a bath, obviously make the water slightly cooler to bring the body’s temperature down. If you don’t fancy dealing with a bath, a lukewarm facecloth or sponge on their pulse points (that being the forehead, the back of the neck, the inner elbow, the inner wrist, inner thigh, back of the knees and the feet) will cool them down.
• If they’re in a cot swaddled in bumpers, blankets and plush toys, remove them all to let the air circulate.
• If you’re using a fan, don’t point it towards your baby or child, but use it to keep the air circulating in the room
• If your child is less than six months of age, it’s best not to put sunscreen on her regularly – shade, clothing and hats are the most important way to protect skin. Sunscreens labelled ‘for babies’ or ‘sensitive’ are less likely to cause any irritation. Obviously, ask your pharmacist to recommend something and always test the sunscreen on a small area of your baby’s skin to check for any skin reactions. Or, do what I did; lash a load all over her on the way to the 40 Foot and then freak out when she broke out into a rash.
• If you’re out and about, it’s worth investing in Aven’s Thermal Water Spray and have it in the bag. Spritz on their pulse points will cool them right down.
• If they’re very wee, maybe offer them a sip of cooled boiled water between feeds.
• Don’t freak out, but there’s no harm being aware of the signs of dehydration.
You can also add “sunken eyes” and “won’t drink or eat” (which is obviously counterproductive) to the list. In which case, you should also buy Diorlyte.
Now, go enjoy the sun. Best you can.