While summer appears to be one big ray of sunshine (pun-intended), we can’t ignore the lengthy periods of relentless heat and humidity that the season brings. The harsh summer sun and inescapable heat is uncomfortable for us all, yet for a newborn with sensitive skin that has never been exposed to these kinds of conditions before, it can be quite dangerous.
According to a recent study* commissioned by WaterWipes surveying 1,000 Australian and New Zealand parents, approximately two thirds of parents say their newborn has experienced heat rash and nappy rash in the summer.
Parents revealed that 68% have had experience with ‘general’ irritation caused by heat. The same study also showed that 44% have experienced skin irritation caused by a baby product.
Babies and infants have less control over their environment and are dependent on carers to keep them cool in summer, so here are some simple tips to help keep baby cool in summer and help avoid nasty skin conditions.
Be sun safe
It is critical that you take extra precautions in the summer to keep baby out of direct sunlight – whether it’s taking a different walking route with less sunlight exposure or avoiding parks/playgrounds that don’t have sufficient shade.
Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight as their skin contains too little melanin and is much more sensitive and delicate than ours, therefore very susceptible to sunburn.
Sunscreen is also not recommended for babies less than six months of age — shade, clothing and hats are best.
Hydration is key
Like adults, babies need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. A way of telling if baby is hydrated is if there are six to eight pale colour wet nappies a day.
In keeping an infant hydrated, a general rule is that 50% additional liquids are required in hotter weather as babies do not visibly sweat to lose liquids. Infants under six months cannot drink water therefore increased breastfeeding is encouraged.
Avoiding heat rash
The summer heat increases perspiration which can lead to nappy rash and heat rash. To avoid these nasty skin conditions, increased bathing and wipe downs are recommended. This will cool down the baby whilst simultaneously removing perspiration and soothing the skin.
It is important that you take extra care in choosing baby products used for bathing. Many baby washes and wipes contain harsh chemicals which can aggravate baby’s sensitive skin - even products that claim natural ingredients can be found to contain chemicals that irritate a newborn baby’s thin, delicate skin.
A quick and easy way to cool them down is a surface wipe with WaterWipes. You can even put them in the fridge first to cool the wipe first.
Thankfully, WaterWipes are made with 99.9% purified water and just a drop of fruit extract and are safe to use on newborn babies and even premature babies. They help prevent nappy rash and are safe and soft enough to use to help heal heat rash. Their unique soft, non-greasy feel on the skin makes them even more effective at cleaning than cotton wool and regular water, as recommended by midwives.
Eczema and summer
Summer is even a tricky time for those who suffer from eczema, especially for an infant’s highly sensitive skin. The summer heat increases perspiration which can lead to rashes, skin irritations and an eczema flare up if a baby suffers from atopic dermatitis.
According to Dr Deshan Sebaratnam, consultant Dermatologist and Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, it is critical to check the fine print on products used on a newborn during the summer months.
“It is important to always check the products that you apply on your skin and the skin of children, and aim for products that have minimal additives and chemicals to avoid skin irritations. This is particularly true if a child has a tendency towards sensitive skin or eczema,” he said.
WaterWipes are the only baby wipes that contain water and a drop of fruit extract only, and are safe to use on newborn babies’ skin. They are suitable for sensitive skin and are the only baby wipe to be approved by Allergy UK and Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. They are also now a proud Gold Sponsor of the Eczema Association of Australasia.
There’s a lot to consider when caring for a newborn’s delicate skin, particularly during the hot summer months. Babies’ are susceptible to skin irritations during this warm period due to their highly sensitive skin, so precautions must be taken to ensure that infant’s avoid heat rashes, eczema flare ups and dehydration. It is important to look to baby products that are specifically designed to heal and hydrate baby’s delicate skin.
* Research was conducted by WaterWipes Australasia through an online survey of 1000 Australian and New Zealand parents during December 2018 – January 2019.