We all love the summer, of course, but for the parents of younger children it can sometimes be a difficult time.
For adults, hot summer nights (no, not that kind!) can make it difficult to sleep. But babies and toddlers can sometimes suffer even more than us grown-ups because their bodies are not as good at regulating their temperature as ours. As a result, they miss out on the sleep they need, they get cranky, and may have a reduced appetite – which of course makes them even crankier and less able to sleep!
But sleeping in the heat doesn’t have to be an ordeal. We have put together a few tips to help your little ones and you to sleep better through the summer.
- Keep bedrooms ventilated and cool. By keeping windows open in the daytime, you can help to prevent rooms getting stuffy and hot in the first place. Open them first thing in the morning to take advantage of the cooler air at this time of day, and to give the room an airing. Keep blinds or curtains closed to block out the sun, and the room will stay cooler. If you need to keep the windows open at night, make sure that you baby is not sleeping in a draught and avoid the temptation to put a fan or an air conditioning unit near the child as these can also generate cold currents of air that can lower body temperature too much. Draping damp towers or sheets in front of open windows or over a chair or table can help too as the evaporated water from it helps to cool the air.
- Use a summer weight sleeping bag. Thicker bedding and lined sleeping bags might be uncomfortable on warmer evenings. Unlined summer sleeping bags are ideal when the temperature starts to rise above 23 degrees. Slumbersac’s new muslin sleeping bags are perfect for the summer. They’re made of beautifully soft, 100% breathable cotton muslin and come in a lovely light summer weight which helps to keep baby cool and prevents overheating.
- Drink plenty of fluids. For breastfeeding babies who feed frequently, there will not be any need to provide them with extra fluids, although mum might well want to drink a little more often to keep up with baby’s demands! For older babies and toddlers, though, it’s very important to make sure they drink enough water as thirst can keep them awake at night.
- Eat the right food. Refreshing fruit is the perfect snack for toddlers. Light summer meals that consist of vegetables, fish, soups and other ‘light’ foods are generally better than stodgy meals, especially in the evening time or before bed.
- Take naps in the shade. You should avoid exposing your child to the mid-day heat if possible. If they’re taking a nap outside, the summer air can help them to sleep more easily than they might in a stuffy room, but always make sure that they’re shaded and use a parasol on their pram if necessary.
And most importantly, never leave baby to sleep in the car. Even with open windows, temperatures can rise to over 50 degrees in just a few minutes, which can very quickly lead to life threatening heat exhaustion.
- Stay Cool! Fortunately, little ones love water, so it’s easy to get them to cool off in a paddling pool or take a swim if they’re a little older. Don’t forget, Slumbersac’s bath ponchos are great drying off in the garden and for stopping delicate skin from burning! With smaller babies, be careful about putting them in water for too long as their bodies are not yet good at heat regulation and they can quickly get too cold. Instead, you can use a damp cloth to cool their body down from time to time. And don’t forget that young children should always be supervised around water as it only takes a few moments for a dangerous situation to arise.