A common summer practice aimed at protecting babies from the sun may instead be putting them at risk, experts have warned. As temperatures across Australia soar, parents are being told to stop using blankets as sun shades on prams and strollers.
It’s something most parents have done, trying to shield their baby from the harsh sun – throwing a blanket over the pram. But there are concerns that parents are endangering their babies, by creating stifling conditions in prams on already scorching days.
Swedish paediatrician Svante Norgren told local press: “It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos. There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram.”
“It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child… if a child gets too hot then the child may think that it is back in the womb, which is why breathing may stop,” he says.
SIDS and Kids’ Jill Green says overheating isn’t the only risk.
“If the little one can grab onto that blanket and pull it over their head and face, we’ve got a bigger issue,” Ms Green tells Babyology.
She says SIDS and Kids advocates constantly supervising a child sleeping in a pram.
“Can you see where your baby’s face and head are? Can you see that they haven’t rolled over into the edge of the pram and therefore squashed their little faces up against the side. We need to be able to see our little ones and know that they’re ok.”
Australian mum Emma Lovell invented the Fly Babee, a sleeping aid for air travel that doubles as a breathable shade cover for prams, after seeing parents throwing anything they had to hand over their baby’s pram: “Coats, cardigans, blankets, towels, you know beach towels – people will just sort of grab anything,” Ms Lovell says.
She says the product is safe to use on prams because it gives babies room to move and stretch while also allowing for airflow and protection from the sun.
“We do stress, once bub’s asleep that you can open the viewing flap at the top and be able to look in,” says Ms Lovell.
Babyology also recently reported on the Geleeo, a self-cooling stroller liner that helps prevent children overheating in prams.
Ms Green suggests parents monitor their baby’s temperature while they’re in a pram, on hot days.
“Don’t feel the feet or the hands, sometimes the face may even get cool if they’ve got a high temperature. Feel the core temperature which is on their chest, underneath their jumpsuit or whatever they’re wearing or at the base of their neck. Use yourself as a guide. So if you’re comfortable in this environment in two pieces of clothing then as a general rule, so will your little one.”