Everyone knows leaving children in hot cars is a big no-no, even for a few minutes.
But as temperatures continue to blast us this summer, a common stroller mistake could also be putting babies at risk. Covering a stroller with a blanket to shield your baby from the sun – even if it's with a very thin cloth – can actually have a furnace-like effect, according to Swedish researchers. In fact, doing this can cause the temperature inside a stroller to skyrocket to dangerous levels.
"It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos," pediatrician Svante Norgren told the Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet. "There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram."
The newspaper decided to do a stroller experiment of its own, just to see what would happen. Here's what it found:
Without a cover: The temperature inside the a stroller left out in the heat was 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)
With a thin cover: In 30 minutes, the temperature rose to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit.) And after an hour, it was at 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Who would have thought something as innocent as covering your baby's stroller with a blanket on a hot day could be a recipe for disaster? The thing is, young children are especially at risk for overheating and even heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke can include hot, red, dry skin; rapid pulse; restlessness; lethargy; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting and unconsciousness.
What parents can do to avoid heatstroke in babies:
- Dress your baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Try to keep your baby in the shade when outside – and check to make sure that he's staying cool during car rides.
- Give him more fluids than usual on hot days.
- If the temperature is especially hot, keep your baby inside if you can.
- If your home is very hot and you don't have air conditioning, seek comfort at a public library, the mall, or a community shelter provided especially for relief from the heat.
Find more information from our site concerning heatstroke in babies.
I'll be the first to admit I've draped blankets over our stroller while out walking with my babies. I guess I never thought much of it, aside from blocking the sun. Learning that the inside of a covered stroller can reach over 90 degrees on a mild day is enough to scare me out of the habit. This is definitely something to keep in mind for the future.
Featured photo via Flickr/betsy
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.