Summer days in Australia can be brutal! A hot baby is generally an unhappy baby, which can quickly take the fun out of a family day out.
Keeping a child cool and comfortable in a pram when things heat up is a challenge at best and a severe health risk at worst.
However, through a combination of intentional pram selection and a few handy hacks when using a stroller you can keep kids comfortable on the hottest of hot days.
In this article, we will share 13 tips to help overcome the heat you keep your little one cool when using a pram and minimise the risk of discomfort.
- Health Risks of Overheating in a Pram
- 13 Tips To Keep Baby Cool In A Pram
- 1. Wear Light Clothing
- 2. Avoid Direct Sunlight
- 3. Use a Pram Umbrella
- 4. Ensure Easy Access to a Cold Water Bottle
- 5. Breastfeed Often (Or Feed with Pumped Milk)
- 6. Place a Wet Towel or Cooler Pack on Seat
- 7. Remove The Pram Back Panel
- 8. Choose a Pram Design With a Sunshade
- 9. Use a Canopy Extender
- 10. Use a Portable Stroller Fan
- 11. Breathable Pram Fabric
- 12. Use Gelled Pram Liners
- 13. Choose Lighter Colours
- Safety Precautions In Hot Weather
Health Risks of Overheating in a Pram
Overheating is a genuine threat to your baby’s health. When your baby is in the seat of a pram you may not be as aware of their well-being and may not notice the earlier signs of dehydration and overheating.
You will have to proactively look for these symptoms that could indicate your baby is overheating:
- Your baby is more irritable than usual
- Pale and clammy skin
- Fewer wet diapers than usual
- Darker urine
- Refusing to drink
- Intense thirst
- Red, hot, and dry skin, mouth, and eyes. No tears when crying
- Rising body temperature
- Rapid breathing
If your baby displays any of these symptoms you should remove them from the stroller’s seat and allow them to walk or lay down in the shade.
13 Tips To Keep Baby Cool In A Pram
Here is your sun-safe checklist to keep your baby cool in their pram when you are planning a big family day out on a hot Aussie summer day.
1. Wear Light Clothing
The best thing you can do to prevent your baby from getting uncomfortable in the heat is to dress appropriately for the conditions.
Go for clothes that are loose-fitting and breathable to minimise the heat being trapped by the layer of fabric.
2. Avoid Direct Sunlight
When a pram is placed in the direct sun the heat is amplified even if your baby is protected by a sunshade. This is especially important if the pram is stationary and there is no breeze passing through the seating area.
Wherever possible you should stick to shaded areas.
It is also worth noting that you should not use sunscreen with children under 6 months of age.
Their skin is delicate and will get irritated quickly if exposed to the sun’s rays and direct exposure should be avoided regardless of temperature.
3. Use a Pram Umbrella
If you cannot avoid direct sunlight then an umbrella can prevent the sunlight from hitting the sunshade. This is not a perfect solution but can help reduce the impact of the sun temporarily while you find a cooler spot.
The extra barrier that blocks the light can protect the cover and reduce the heat passing through to the seating area.
4. Ensure Easy Access to a Cold Water Bottle
You must keep your baby hydrated on a hot day and the best way to do this in a pram is to have a water bottle accessible at all times.
It is also critical to track how much water is being consumed. Even if they are reaching for the bottle regularly they may not be drinking enough fluid to stay hydrated, which is fundamental to keeping your baby cool
You may need to give some periodic encouragement to drink more often and assist them semi-regularly.
5. Breastfeed Often (Or Feed with Pumped Milk)
This is an easy extension of the previous point on hydration. Keeping all of your child’s meals in liquid form will boost their hydration levels without much extra effort.
If you are unable to breastfeed when out with your baby then pumped breast milk would do just fine. Water can then act as more of a supplement in between feeds to keep them hydrated and happy.
6. Place a Wet Towel or Cooler Pack on Seat
There are some great DIY options to cool down the pram’s seating area by using some basic household items:
- Wet towels – place around your child for some moist and refreshing padding around the seat.
- Cooler packs – cheap and easy to whip out of the freezer and place under the seating pad or behind your child’s back.
- Frozen water bottles – even cheaper than a cooler pack and easy to DIY at home.
These options are most suitable for super hot days where there is likely to be long exposure to direct sun.
7. Remove The Pram Back Panel
Some pram designs have a removable back panel that exposes mesh fabric that improves airflow through the seating area. You will need to ensure that there is nothing blocking this internally like a discarded blanket.
It makes a big difference to the level of air circulating through the seating area and can be as effective as the cooler packs mentioned above.
8. Choose a Pram Design With a Sunshade
A good sunshade is an important pram design element regardless of the season or climate you live in. It is useful in all weather conditions and plays a key role in your baby’s comfort levels.
Prams with an extendable sunshade are typically more expensive but offer excellent levels of protection that will contribute to your baby’s comfort levels.
A wise investment in our opinion!
9. Use a Canopy Extender
A universal canopy extender is a cheap and easy way to improve your baby’s comfort levels even if you are using a cheaper pram.
You can easily pair this with an extender to create a protected environment for a fraction of the cost of a premium pram design.
You must still ensure there is good ventilation for your baby so they stay comfortable.
10. Use a Portable Stroller Fan
When a pram is stationary, or if ventilation is proving a challenge, you can always use a specially designed stroller fan to circulate air in the pram seat area.
This ensures a steady breeze running over your baby’s face no matter what the circumstances. If you combine this with one of the cooling hacks mentioned earlier then you have created something close to a mobile pram air conditioning unit for your baby.
That white noise from the fan can also help keep your baby calm in challenging conditions.
11. Breathable Pram Fabric
Light and breathable fabric for the seating panels and stroller canopy are the foundational elements of a comfortable pram unit.
Thick and soft material will retain too much heat and should be avoided.
How the material comes together also plays a role in the level of airflow that is possible. We have referenced removable panels, and some other premium strollers have breathable elements built into the frame of the pram’s design that increase the natural flow of air.
A cheaper pram will often have one solid piece of fabric that makes up the shape of the canopy and seat. This can trap air and be more restrictive.
12. Use Gelled Pram Liners
Even a basic pram liner can be beneficial with the breathable fabric and absorbent cushioning able to help absorb sweat and help create space for air to circulate under and behind your baby when in a seat.
However, or best results on a hot Australian summer day you can use a liner with a gel inside the cushions that hold cold temperatures in a similar way to a cooler pack.
You can place these in the fridge prior to heading out for the day and you have an amazingly refreshing cooling base for your stroller seat that will take the sting out of the heat.
13. Choose Lighter Colours
Many parents will gravitate toward darker colours when buying a stroller due to the fact that they hide stains better.
Unfortunately, these darker colours also absorb heat! This increases the risk of your child overheating when in the stroller seat. Light colours are always best, even if they do look the messiest at times.
Safety Precautions In Hot Weather
How Hot Is Too Hot For a Pram
The answer will vary depending on the following circumstances:
- How long you will be outside for – the shorter the timeframe the less important the temperature is.
- The time of day – the UV rating is highest between 10am and 4pm on a summer’s day.
- How old your child is – older babies can self-regulate temperature more effectively.
- The type of pram you are using.
- How much effort you put into your preparation (see all 13 tips above!).
As soon as it gets into the 30+ degree range you will need to pay extra attention to your child. Remember, that a stroller can amplify the heat depending on how you set up the environment so you will always have to apply a healthy dose of common sense and good judgment.
Monitor Baby’s Temperature
This is an extension of the first section of this article where we listed the signs your baby is overheating.
The problem with all of the symptoms mentioned is that your kid will already be hot by the time they become noticeable.
If you wanted to be extra vigilant you could just take a thermometer with you and check in regularly. But for most days out this would be overkill and only necessary if you have a reason for monitoring closely, such as a recent illness or fever.
You cannot use sunscreen with a newborn or young infant – children generally need to be at least 6 months old. However, once you get past this age then using sunscreen is very important when spending time outdoors in summer.
I am sure you know what it is like to be sunburnt. Your skin radiates heat when after a cold shower!
Avoiding burns or any kind of irritation will help keep your kids cool when in the pram.
Infants have a lower tolerance for drastic changes in temperature and there are genuine health risks that come from overheating in a stroller.
However, you can still embrace the Australian summer with your baby with some basic preparation, and access to plenty of shade to keep your baby cool while in their pram.