The heatwave we’re currently ‘enjoying’ in the UK could be putting babies at risk of cot death, experts have warned.
With temperatures predicted to reach sweltering highs today, The Lullaby Trust has issued advice for parents to help keep their babies safe and cool in the heat.
The charity, which works to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) also known as Cot Death, warns that babies who get too hot are at an increased risk of SIDS.
While many of us are currently struggling to sleep in these baking hot nights, to reduce the chance of SIDS the ideal temperature of a baby's room should be 16-20°C.
However, every baby is different and experts say it is important to check if their chest or the back of their neck feels clammy as this is a sign they are getting too hot.
"We know that overheating is a risk factor for SIDS, so keeping babies from getting too hot is important,” explains Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust.
“We appreciate how hard it can be to keep babies cool in such hot weather, so we would urge parents to regularly monitor their baby's temperature.
“If their baby's skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes or bedding, and think about moving them somewhere that might be a bit cooler."
How to keep babies cool at night
Keeping rooms from getting too hot can be difficult, especially with temperatures set to soar into the high 30s, but The Lullaby Trust advises parents to:
Close the blinds or curtains during the day to stop the room your baby sleeps in from getting too hot
Put a fan in the bedroom to help circulate the air, but make sure it is out of reach and not pointed directly at your baby
Reduce layers; just a nappy with no bedding is fine in hot weather
Monitor the temperature with a room thermometer
Pram cover warning
To try and protect children from the sun, many parents cover their baby’s prams with blankets in order to block out the sun’s rays, but the charity warned that this is actually a bad idea, particularly during the heatwave.
Prams should not be covered with blankets, cloths or any cover that prevents the air from circulating. Covering a pram with a blanket could lead to overheating, which increases the chance of SIDS.
Even a light blanket over a buggy has been found to put children at risk of heatstroke or SIDS.
Instead the charity advise that prams should be covered with a clip-on sunshade to keep baby out of direct sunlight and their temperature monitored to avoid overheating.
READ MORE: 9 heatwave mistakes we're all making
Other advice the charity suggests is keeping babies out of direct sunlight and indoors during the hottest part of the day and avoiding taking their baby on public transport during peak hours.
They also advise trying to find a shop or café with air-conditioning so that they can cool down.
The advice doesn’t just apply to parents during the UK heatwave, but can also help to reduce the risk of SIDS while taking babies abroad.
“It is harder to keep babies cool when away on holiday and travel can disrupt routines, so it is important that all safer advice is followed on holiday as well,” the charity explained.
“To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) babies should be slept on their back on a firm, flat, mattress for every sleep day and night.”
The sleep advice comes after experts reiterated their warning that babies should not be given water, even in the extreme weather.
Consuming even the tiniest amount of water puts the health of newborn babies at risk.
For more advice on safer sleep for babies visit www.lullabytrust.org.uk