Before you head outside to enjoy that beautiful day with baby, look over this important checklist of ways to stay safe in the summertime.
[ ] Stay out of the sun. Babies under six months should never get direct rays, and older kids should still avoid as much as possible. This means hats (look for one with a flap that covers the neck), an umbrella on the stroller, and lots and lots of shade.
[ ] If you have a pool outside, empty it every night — no exceptions. Even the tiniest bit of water can spell serious danger for a baby. And, make sure you or another present adult knows CPR and life-saving techniques when you're around water.
[ ] When you're in or around water, keep baby within arms reach... because no, babies can't swim. For kids under four, swim classes are don't count as a way to decrease drowning risk.
[ ] Don't put insect repellent on babies under two months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. After that, check the labels carefully — older kids (and adults!) should never use repellent with more than 30% DEET or picaridin concentration. Oil of lemon eucalyptus shouldn't be used on kids under three years. If you pick a natural repellent, look for age restrictions printed on the bottle.
[ ] When you do apply repellent, do so sparingly, and only on exposed skin. Don't put it on hands, areas around the eyes and mouth, or any irritated skin or wounds. If you're spraying, do it outside and away from food. Once you're back inside, use soap and water to wash away the repellent.
[ ] Stay away from areas that attract bugs, including open foods, blooming gardens and stagnant water. And, save the bright, flowery-printing clothes for an indoor day.
[ ] Having a picnic? Don't let the food sit outside for more than two hours, or if the temp is over 90°F, one hour. Also, try packing the picnic the night before and refrigerating it — this way, it'll stay cold longer once outside.
[ ] Chug the fluids! When it's hot outside, baby needs more breast milk or formula than usual. (Not water, though! This can mess with electrolytes.)
[ ] Look over the playground before you let the little one loose. Metal equipment — especially slides — can really heat up under the sun. And a burned bottom isn't fun for baby or you!