That sunny day blanket or muslin over the stroller deserves a rethink, according to a mum and dad team.
Charlie O’Brien and Jason King (JK) from Channel Mum were keen to demonstrate that the stock-standard approaching of covering a pram with a muslin is actually a risky proposition.
“When you’re out and about with baby in the hot weather, it can be tempting to place a muslin cloth or thin blanket over the pram to shield them from the sun, but did you know this is actually extremely dangerous?” Charlie says in a video the pair recently uploaded to their YouTube channel. “To prove just how dangerous it is we did this controlled test – and the results may shock you!”
“You see your precious baby with the sun in their eyes, and you just think ‘oh no, quickly get it off’ and put [the muslin] on,” JK elaborates, but he’s keen to explain just why this is not the best approach.
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It’s getting hot in here
The couple decided to do what they’re calling a ‘controlled test’ spending an hour testing what happens when they draped a blanket over the pram with the sun beating down and what happened when the pram was blanket-free.
The pair put a baby doll – named Baby James – in a pram with the hood extended. Within 7 minutes the temperature in the pram reached 29.9 degrees C.
Next, they put Baby James in the pram with hood extended in the very same spot, but this time they covered the pram with a light muslin throw. This time, the temperature in the pram reached 35.1 degrees C in just 7 minutes.
While these tests are not scientific, they do show that putting even the lightest fabric over a pram to protect your baby from the sun or outside distractions can have unwanted consequences. It’s possible that if they’d left the muslin draped over the pram for longer, the temperature could have climbed even higher.
“Something like a thermos”
In 2014 paediatrician Svante Norgren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that parents should avoid this common practice.
“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos. It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child,” he said.
Svenska Dagbladet conducted a test similar to the one JK and Charlie did, with similar worrying results.
So as we slowly coast towards sunnier days in Australia, it’s good to note that the old blanket over the pram situation is not a good idea, and perhaps refresh our approach to keeping our babies and toddlers cool on warmer days.
So what should you do to keep your baby cool when the temperature is climbing?
- Keep your baby out of the sun and heat on very hot days – and at the hottest time of the day.
- Make sure your little one stays hydrated with plenty of fluids.
- Protect your child from the sun with hats and SunSmart clothing – or dress them in cool, natural fibres.
- Don’t leave your baby sleeping in their pram as it can get very hot in there.
- Head to air-conditioned venues if your home is very warm.
- Wipe your child down with cool cloths or pop them in a cool-ish bath to make them more comfortable.
- Avoid covering prams or baby capsules with covers, blankets or throws on warm days.
- Check your pram for mesh openings that allow air to circulate – and keep them uncovered.
- Offer your child frozen drinks, fruits or icy poles.