It's a well-intended act and a common sight when you see a parent with a stroller covered with a blanket or other fabric. It's an effort to block the sun's harmful rays from their baby. However, this isn't a good idea as recent studies show stroller draping to be an unsafe practice, especially during hot-weather months.
"The one thing we do to keep our babies safe may also be one of the most dangerous," says Purnima Unni, pediatric trauma injury prevention program manager at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. "Even the thinnest of cloths or covers over the stroller or carrier can reduce air circulation within the travel system and create a greenhouse effect in the enclosed space. This may result in the temperature inside the stroller rising to dangerous levels," she adds.
STROLLER & CARRIER TIPS TO KEEP BABIES SAFE
Unni offers the following suggestions for keeping your little one safe in the summer heat:
• Dress children in light, loose-fitting clothing to prevent them from overheating.
• Keep your child in the shade when outside.
• Try to make sure your child is cool during car rides.
• Keep your child hydrated. Water is a great tool for lowering body temperature and preventing the onset of hyperthermia.
• Find a stroller that has a canopy and some kind of opening in the back so the air is flowing.
• Check on your child frequently. When walking or jogging with a child in a stroller, check in every 10 – 15 minutes.
"If their cheeks are flushed, if they're sweating or if they're warm to the touch, that's probably too hot," Unni cautions. "Good ventilation is important for the comfort and safety of a child, so think about alternatives to coverings on hot days. It's important to be mindful of the temperatures and it's especially important to protect your child from the damaging rays of the sun. Use a sun hat and sunscreen," she adds.