Infants are not able to regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults and can quickly become overheated, putting them at risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
So, how hot is too hot for a baby to be outdoors? For newborns and infants, it’s recommended to avoid outdoor activities when the temperature is above 90°F (32°C).
It’s always best to check the temperature before going outside and to take frequent breaks in air-conditioned spaces or shade if you must be outside. Additionally, make sure to keep your baby hydrated and dressed appropriately for the weather.
How to Dress a Baby for Extreme Hot Weather
If you have no choice but to take your baby out into the heat, dressing them appropriately is key. To dress an infant for hot weather, it is recommended to:
- Keep it light: Dress your baby in lightweight, breathable clothes made of cotton or similar fabrics. Avoid heavy, synthetic fabrics that retain heat.
- Dress in layers: If it’s particularly hot, dress your baby in just a onesie or diaper. You can add a lightweight, breathable shirt or sun hat if needed.
- Protect from the sun: Make sure to protect your baby’s skin from the sun with a hat and sunglasses and by applying a gentle, broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed skin. Click here for information about infant-safe sunscreens.
Other Measures to Keep Baby Safe in the Hot Weather
Aside from dressing them properly, here’s how to keep your baby safe in the heat:
- Hydrate them more than usual: Provide frequent feeds or offer water (if appropriate for their age) to help keep your baby hydrated.
- Keep tabs on skin temperature: Regularly check your baby’s skin temperature, including their chest, back and neck, to ensure they’re not too hot.
- Don’t cover the stroller with a blanket: Putting a blanket over a stroller on a hot day may seem like a good way to block the sun but it’s not recommended. A blanket, even a thin one, can trap heat and create a dangerous, overheated environment for your baby.
The blanket can also block airflow, making it difficult for the baby to breathe properly. A blanket made from synthetic materials can retain heat even more effectively, increasing the danger to the baby. To protect your baby from the sun, it is best to choose a well-ventilated stroller and use a special stroller-safe UV blanket like this inexpensive universal-fit one from Jolly Jumper (which I used for both my girls and loved it).
Conclusion: Stay Away from The Heat, or Take Plenty of Precautions
Severe heat, or heat that’s above 90°F (32°C), can pose a risk to a baby’s health as their bodies are not yet fully equipped to regulate their internal temperature. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even life-threatening for a baby.
If you must take them out in the heat, it’s important to monitor your baby’s comfort and well-being, to dress them appropriately, keep them hydrated, and avoid using any blanket on your car seat or stroller other than a solar shade. Taking frequent breaks in air-conditioned or shady spaces if they are outside for a prolonged period of time is also best.