The panic of getting your toddler overheated can be real, especially if you’re from colder climate countries. Heat strokes, sunburnt and other heat-induced illnesses can be scary for both you and your toddler, as the heat can make even the best of us cranky.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to make sure that your toddler can enjoy the trip as much as you. If you’re planning to explore the breathtaking Bali or futuristic Singapore, it’s important to be prepared with the right gear and know some tips to keep your kid safe in a hot climate.
Children are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses due to their smaller body size, less developed sweat glands, and other physiological differences from adults. Proper preparation is the key to an enjoyable trip with your toddler.
Before travelling in hot weather with a toddler, consider these seven tips:
- Time your daily activities wisely
- Avoid direct sun
- Keep them hydrated
- Dress in layers
- Observe your toddler’s reaction to heat
- Eat light, healthy meals
- Let in the breeze when you sleep
Let’s discuss each of these tips in detail:
1. Time your activities wisely
Plan your activities wisely when travelling in hot climates. To make the most of the day and stay healthy, it is important to avoid the peak-heat times and take a break during the hottest hours.
Make sure to use the early morning and evening with more bearable temperatures for sightseeing, and have naps and rest during the lunchtime. Doing so will ensure a more enjoyable and health-friendly experience for you and your family.
2. Avoid direct sun
Shield your child and particularly their head from direct sunlight. Utilize sun hats with SPF and adjustable drawstrings to protect them (we know how quickly those hats can disappear!). Additionally, cover your car windows to prevent heat strokes when travelling with your toddler.
3. Keep them hydrated
Ensure regular hydration for you and your toddler by drinking water, regardless of thirst. Refill or replace your bottles often, and if travelling by car, consider bringing a cooler or esky to keep drinks cool. For a longer-lasting cool temperature, invest in stainless drinking bottles, which can keep your drinks cool for up to 24 hours. Water is the best way to stay hydrated, so avoid sugary, fizzy or any other drinks.
4. Dress them in layers
To help your toddler stay comfortable in fluctuating temperatures, dressing them in layers is an ideal solution. Start with lightweight, breathable clothes preferably made from natural fabrics such as linen. Linen clothing and sandals or open shoes are great options to minimize heat.
You may also want to add a lightweight blanket when leaving early before the sun has fully risen. When it gets warm, remove the extra layers.
5. Observe your toddler’s reaction to heat
Observe your toddler’s reactions to the heat when you are back home. You will be better able to gauge their tolerance level for hot weather. Before travelling to a hot location, ask yourself: How does my toddler handle the heat at home? Are they comfortable outside or prefer a more tranquil indoor environment?
Understanding your toddler’s threshold and preference towards heat can help you plan and organise your trips and activities.
Be on the lookout for signs of an impending heat-related meltdown, such as flushed faces, glassy and droopy eyes, and short replies, and take preventive action. Provide them with cold drinks, snacks, a place to sit down, and rest. Move to a cooler area or even head back home if necessary.
If you observe more serious symptoms such as muscle cramps, exhaustion, and nausea, immediately take your toddler to a cool, shaded area and seek medical assistance.
6. Eat light, healthy meals
When you eat large, heavy meals, the body must work to digest the food, which raises the body’s core temperature. To help your toddler’s body keep the internal temperature cool and comfortable you should try to eat light meals.
Stock up on fruits, nuts, yoghurts, vegetable sticks, and other light snacks. Indulge in a refreshing ice cream every now and then. If you’re trying to avoid sugar at all times, you can always get fruity popsicles.
7. Let in the breeze when you sleep
Heat is one of the biggest causes of a terrible night’s sleep. The sticky sheets, tossing and turning are nothing but a killer of a good night’s rest. To avoid that you should let in the breeze from outside or have fans working throughout the night.
Always check if there’s an AC in your accommodation when travelling in hot climate areas.
Tip: soak a cloth and put it on your toddler’s forehead before they fall asleep to help them cool down.
Besides considering these seven tips we discussed above – timing daily activities wisely, avoiding direct sun, keeping hydrated, dressing in layers, observing reactions to heat, eating light and healthy meals, and letting in the breeze when sleeping – investing in items that can make the heat more tolerable is also recommended.
The items worth buying to help toddler manage the heat:
Let’s look into each of these items in detail:
1. Car seat adapted to hot temperatures
Opt for a car seat with breathable and non-irritating fabric to ensure your little one is kept cool and comfortable. Finding a car seat with fabric that prevents your toddler from getting hot and sticky will be super useful in hot temperatures.
2. Swimmers that cover most of their body
It may be tempting to let your toddler splash around in the water with minimal clothing, especially if they are resistant to wearing the full swimming costume.
Unfortunately, the water is where they could be at the most risk of sun exposure without shade.
Therefore, it is best to invest in a surfer’s swimsuit that has SPF protection and a sunhat, so you don’t have to worry about constantly reapplying sunscreen every 15 minutes.
3. Gel coolers
Sweating while carrying your baby in a carrier during a trip to a tropical climate is inevitable.
To prevent overheating, you should consider getting a baby carrier gel cooler that attaches to the carrier and self-cools with the help of the gel.
This cooling mat absorbs the heat from the baby’s body, providing relief and regulating the temperature.
4. Portable stroller fan
Getting a portable stroller fan will not only bring comfort to your toddler but also be good for their health. Just make sure you get the fan with blades that are made of a soft material, like foam or a fan that is bladeless to protect little fingers.
Enjoy the benefits of sun
Just like with friends, no matter how lovable they are, if you spend too much time in the sun’s company, you and your toddler will become cranky and agitated. To ensure a successful holiday in a hot climate, preparation and effort are key.
Take the necessary precautions for you and your toddler when spending time in the sun’s company, such as finding ways to cool down daily, whether it’s a swimming pool or the ocean, as well as checking for air conditioning in your accommodation. With a little bit of effort, the sun can be your friend!
If you live further away from the equator, travelling to a tropical climate country is extremely exciting and full of novelty that is so rewarding and fun for your toddler to experience.
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You may also like to read our posts about how to save money for travelling and the debate about whether you should put your travel plan on pause when you have kids.