Summer is here and it feels amazing! Worrying about the wind shield and wrestling with snow pants are distant memories, and the long, lazy days of summer are the new reality. Personally, I feel like a much more easy-going and spontaneous parent in the summer months. I rarely hesitate to leave the house, because there’s no concern of below freezing temperatures or heavy outerwear to put on. But if it’s your first summer with a little one , there are some things you need to know to best enjoy summer with a baby. Below we’ll talk water safety, being sun smart, and how to maximize your days outside.
The hot days call for refreshing water – be it a splash pad, a kiddie pool, or the lake up at the cottage. Either way, water safety is extremely important.
I love splash pads because the highest risk we face is a skinned knee if the kids fall while running through the jets of water. They’re refreshing and wet, not there is no drowning risk. These are great for all ages – babies love to sit and play with water as it pops up from the hidden jets, kids love to race through, and even parents can cool off with a quick dash inside. Do a quick scan of the splash pad before letting your kids run wild – since these are in public parks, there is always the small risk of something unsavoury like a broken bottle being on the ground. Encourage your children to keep their sandals or water shoes on as they run about, too, and always remind them to be mindful of smaller children and babies.
Typically, a kiddie pool in your town or city will have life guards on duty, but parents still need to be vigilant. I asked our local lifeguards at the kiddie pool that we frequent for a few tips and he was happy to help. I learned that the greatest risk is drowning for babies, and choking on water due to rough playing for older kids. Even in very shallow water, a baby can drown if their face is covered by water, so make sure you are always with your baby, sitting together in the water. If your kiddie pool has a gradual entry, or extremely shallow spot, she can walk to you, but never let a baby be more than an arm’s distance away. Older kids must be taught to respect the pool rules of no running and no rough housing. It can seem like a bit of a kill joy, but when faster, larger kids get rough, smaller children are at a greater danger, too. Before you go to the kiddie pool with your older kids, make sure you go over the rules with them before you let them loose.
The fresh water of a lake is one of the best parts of summer in Canada! With the vast water, it’s important to be safe with your little ones. All the same rules from the kiddie pool apply, with the additional recommendation of a flotation device for your children. If they’re in a boat, it’s the law that all passengers have an official life vest, such as the Salus Nimbus Infant vests, but even at the shore or in shallow water, puddle jumpers are a great option for kids under 50lbs.
With the warm temperatures, we like to be outside for hours on end, and sometimes all day long. Though it is dangerous on extremely hot or humid days to be outside (especially between the hours of 12pm-2pm ), there are lots of ways to stay safe and enjoy the sun while it’s here.
Hats for all ages are a must! Baby’s sun hats should be attachable, since they often like to grab them off. I love the ones that cover the back of the neck for extra sun coverage, like this one from Cali Kids. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours and after swimming. I really love the sticks for applying sunscreen to little faces – it makes the whole process so much easier and faster. Check out Sun Bum and Think Baby for great options in SPF 30, and for SPF 50 sun sticks, check brand Mustela.
If you have a little one who will be napping outdoors this summer, make sure he’s sheltered from the sun. Find a shady spot under a tree, or cover their stroller with a sun shade.
Maximize Your Days!
Always make sure you pack a swim diaper, along with enough diapers to last you several hours. You never know when you’ll run into friends, or get the urge to stop by the splash pad on your way home from the park! Pack a water bottle and some healthy snacks in your diaper bag so that you don’t need to rush home on account of hungry. If you baby still drinks formula or breastfeeds, plan accordingly. If you want to avoid peak heat hours, get out first thing in the morning, when the temperatures are coolest.
Long live summer! What are your favourite ways to beat the heat with little ones? We’d love to hear!
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.