Summer survival guide
Your ultimate guide to staying safe, travelling well and having fun this summer
- Keeping cool in the summer heat can be challenging for anyone let alone littlies who do not have the ability to reach for a drink when hot and thirsty.
- Some signs that your baby might be dehydrated are if they haven’t had a wet nappy for six to eight hours, their urine is darker or smells stronger than usual, or they have a dry mouth and lip or no tears when crying.
- Both breastfed and bottle-fed babies might need to feed more frequently on those really hot days, taking in smaller amounts more often. If you are breastfeeding make sure you are hydrating yourself too.
- For babies over six months, regularly offering them water in addition to their usual feeds or meals is a good idea in the summer heat.
- If getting in the car with your little one, it can be a good idea to cool the car down in advance before putting them in their car-seat as babies are more susceptible to dramatic changes in heat.
- Dress babies in light, breathable and preferably natural fabrics. Avoid synthetics, which can cause heat rash.
With the hot summer weather come the unwanted summer bug bites and stings. Most insect repellents contain the active ingredient DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) and while it has been tested and approved as safe for kids, it is not recommended for babies under two months.
We all know New Zealand has particularly harsh sunshine, so it's important to protect our kids as much as possible. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months so keeping baby out of direct sun, particularly in the height of summer, is the best way to avoid burning and stop them from getting overheated. For older children, sunscreen is crucial. Many ranges are formulated especially for children with their sensitive young skin. The key thing to keep in mind is that sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure, reapplied every two hours, and even more often if your child is swimming.
- Take a big umbrella or shade tent to the beach or anywhere where shade isn't guaranteed.
- Plan outdoor activities for early morning and late afternoon to avoid the harsh sunlight in the middle of the day.
- Make putting on sunscreen and a hat part of the ready-to-go-out routine.
- Tips for travelling and packing on holiday:
- If possible try and time your journey with naptime, or in the evening when they are naturally tired and more likely to sleep.
- Pack a soccer ball or activity that they can play with when you stop for breaks, to expend some energy.
- Throw in a backpack or sling to carry baby on beach or bush walks. The Mountain Buggy Nano is good if you're taking a stroller because it’s super-lightweight and once it's folded it fits into most carry-on luggage compartments in planes.
- Pack containers of cooled boiled water if you'll need to do a formula feed on the road.
- Pack a chilly bin, and freeze bottles of water to keep everything cold.
- Don't forget a packet of Treasures wipes – for hands, faces, bottoms and spills.
- Take a portable high chair with you when you head out of town. It can make mealtimes so much easier when staying in motels and baches and means you’ll be able to keep baby in one spot so she can’t move around smushing food into someone else’s furnishings!
- Pack a portacot to take the stress out of bedtime in a new place. It can even make a great little play-pen if you want to keep baby in one spot while you’re unpacking and still working out where any potential new hazards are.
- New novelty items from a $2 store brought out at different intervals, sticker books, audio books and lunchboxes packed with healthy snacks can all help make the journey easier.
- Make sure to pack plenty of plastic bags, wipes, or even a bucket or bowl for the inevitable spills and messes.
- Cool down from the hot temperatures with a healthy homemade treat. Blend together a banana, berries and other summer fruits with yoghurt or milk, (or use your favourite smoothie recipe) and pour into a popsicle maker and freeze for an easy snack.
- Bananas that have been in the freezer make a great snack. Dip them in chocolate and roll in sprinkles for the ultimate treat.
- Remember how much fun running through a sprinkler used to be? Some things never change…
- For the non-mobile, splashing out in a paddling pool that’s been placed in the shade will provide pure joy.
Don’t forget to pack
- Plasters for the inevitable cuts and scrapes.
- Insect repellent to prevent those pesky sandflies and mozzies.
- Sunscreen for the summer rays.
- Tweezers for removing those summer prickles and splinters.
- Antihistamine medication for stings and allergic reactions (check with your doctor if it's safe for your child).
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