When it comes to taking our babies outside in their strollers, we often want to make sure they are protected from the elements, whether it be the sun, wind, rain or insects. One common solution is to cover the stroller with a blanket or cloth. However, as it turns out, this practice may not be as safe as we think. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t cover your baby stroller with a blanket.
Why You Don’t Want to Cover Your Stroller
- It can increase the risk of overheating: Covering your baby stroller with a blanket or cloth can trap heat and reduce air circulation, which can increase the risk of overheating for your baby. Overheating can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heatstroke, which can be life-threatening.
- It can decrease air flow: Covering the stroller with a blanket can also decrease the amount of air that flows through the stroller, which can lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide. This can be especially dangerous for newborns who are still developing their respiratory systems.
- It can obscure your view: Covering the stroller with a blanket can make it difficult for you to see your baby, which can prevent you from noticing any signs of distress or discomfort. This is especially true if you cover the stroller completely, which can also make it difficult for your baby to breathe.
- It can increase the risk of SIDS: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, placing a blanket over a stroller can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This is because the blanket can reduce air flow, increase the risk of overheating, and create a potential suffocation hazard.
A Few Facts to Consider
One study found:
Without a cover: The temperature inside the a stroller left out in the heat was 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)
With a thin cover: In 30 minutes, the temperature rose to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit.) And after an hour, it was at 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Think of a baby inside a hot car without air circulation and how fast the temperatures rise to dangerous levels. It’s much like that. With a cloth totally covering a stroller, you can’t see inside to monitor the situation and air flow quickly becomes significantly restricted.
What to Do Instead of Using a Blanket to Cover Baby Stroller
When it comes to keeping your baby comfortable and protected while using a stroller, there are various alternatives to covering it with a blanket. These options offer practicality, safety, and convenience for both you and your little one. Here are some alternatives to consider:
- Stroller Canopy or Sunshade: Many strollers come with built-in canopies or sunshades that provide shade and protection from the sun. These canopies are adjustable and can be moved to shield your baby from direct sunlight or light rain while still allowing proper ventilation.
- Stroller Rain Cover: If you live in a rainy or wet climate, using a stroller rain cover is a great idea. Rain covers are transparent and fit securely over the stroller, protecting your baby from rain and gusty winds while maintaining visibility.
- Mosquito Net: When strolling in areas with lots of bugs, a mosquito net can be an excellent alternative to a blanket. It will keep pesky insects away from your baby while still allowing airflow and keeping your little one comfortable.
- Stroller Fans: During hot weather, stroller fans can be a lifesaver. These small, battery-operated fans can be attached to the stroller to keep your baby cool and comfortable, reducing the need for a blanket.
- Stroller Seat Liners: Seat liners provide an extra layer of comfort for your baby and can help regulate temperature. They come in various materials, including breathable fabrics suitable for warmer climates and plush options for cooler weather.
- Stroller Umbrella: Stroller umbrellas can attach to the side of the stroller and offer shade from the sun or protection from light rain.
- Stroller Shields: Stroller shields are like mini-tents that cover the entire stroller, providing protection from the elements and maintaining airflow for your baby.
- All-Weather Stroller: Consider investing in a stroller specifically designed for various weather conditions. Some strollers have interchangeable components like sunshades, rain covers, and wind shields that adapt to different climates.
- Utilize Natural Shade: Whenever possible, choose strolling routes that have natural shade from trees or buildings. This way, you can minimize direct exposure to sunlight without needing additional accessories.
Remember, safety and comfort are paramount when using any accessories for your baby’s stroller. Always ensure that your baby has proper ventilation and doesn’t overheat. Additionally, make sure that any attachments or add-ons are securely fastened and won’t pose any hazards during your strolls.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke in a Baby
Heat stroke is a severe condition that can occur when a baby’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and humidity. It is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. The symptoms of heat stroke in a baby can include:
- High Body Temperature: The baby’s body temperature may rise significantly, often exceeding 103°F (39.4°C).
- Hot and Dry Skin: The baby’s skin may feel hot and dry to the touch, indicating that their body is struggling to cool down through sweating.
- Flushed or Red Skin: The baby’s skin may appear red or flushed, particularly in the face and neck region.
- Rapid Breathing: The baby may breathe rapidly and shallowly as their body attempts to expel heat.
- Rapid Heartbeat: The baby’s heart rate may be faster than usual as their body tries to cope with the heat stress.
- Irritability or Disorientation: Babies suffering from heat stroke may become increasingly irritable, fussy, or confused.
- Fatigue and Weakness: The baby may appear lethargic and weak, with reduced energy levels.
- Headache or Dizziness: In some cases, babies may not be able to communicate their discomfort but may exhibit signs of headache or dizziness.
- Nausea or Vomiting: Heat stroke can cause digestive disturbances, leading to nausea or vomiting in some cases.
- Seizures: In severe cases, heat stroke can lead to seizures, which require immediate medical attention.
It’s important to note that infants and babies are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke due to their underdeveloped thermoregulatory systems. Therefore, parents and caregivers should take extra precautions to protect babies from extreme heat and ensure they remain hydrated and cool in hot weather.
If a baby exhibits any symptoms of heat stroke, it is crucial to take immediate action:
- Move the baby to a cooler environment: Get them indoors or in the shade away from direct sunlight.
- Cool the baby down: Use cool, damp cloths on their skin, particularly on their forehead, neck, and armpits.
- Offer fluids: If the baby is conscious and alert, try to give them cool water to drink in small sips.
- Seek medical help: Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call emergency services or take the baby to the nearest healthcare facility immediately for professional treatment.
Preventing heat stroke is paramount. Avoid leaving babies in hot cars or exposing them to high temperatures for extended periods. Dress them in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and offer plenty of fluids, especially in hot weather.