As the summer rapidly approaches, there are a few things we know. The weather is about to get significantly hotter if it hasn't already, and we're inevitably going to end up outside. Most kids don't enjoy being hot, but for babies, it can be especially bad. It's our natural instinct to want to protect them from the sun and heat while we're outside. But, doctors warn that covering your baby's stroller with a blanket is not a good idea.
While it may seem like the best way to block the sun, even the thinnest blanket can be too much. Putting a blanket over the stroller is essentially blocking any sort of airflow the baby might get. So while you're blocking sun rays, you're also blocking air. The blanket is essentially trapping heat in the stroller, which is not deadly, but it's not good for baby either.
Back in 2014, a Swedish pediatrician was warning parents about the effects of covering the stroller. Basically, he explained that the heat in a stroller is like a "thermos." "It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child,” he said.
So, a Swedish newspaper tested his theory and their research definitely backs up the claims. First, they left an empty stroller outside in the sun on a hot day. Without any sort of covering, its internal temperature was 70 degrees. They then covered it a thin cover for a half hour and the temperature soared to 93 degrees. After covering it for an hour, it was 99 degrees. Imagine being trapped in a room that was 99 degrees. It's not going to be pleasant by any means.
“You are stopping the circulation of the air, which will impact the baby’s breathing and temperature,” Dr. Sarah Adams, a pediatrician at Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio tells Today Parents. While it is not life threatening, the baby can certainly get heatstroke, which is certainly scary for everyone involved. Adams's other concern is not being able to see your baby if they're covered.
Some things to look out for: if they're cheeks are flushed or their sweating, they could be too hot. They will also feel warm to the touch. Irritability and lethargy are also indicators that they may be too hot. If any of these things happen, bring them someplace cool and make sure you give them fluids.
And if you must get some sort cover for the stroller, look for an umbrella that attaches to the stroller. Or find a stroller with a canopy or a ventilated back. Better yet, find one with a lightweight fabric. Then baby can stay safe and cool!