Parents are being urged to take particular care with babies in prams during today’s scorching weather.
Temperatures are set to be well over 30 degrees Celsius in the south and top records set earlier this week for hottest day of the year so far.
While many of us will be happily soaking up the sun, the warm weather can pose dangers to young infants.
Excessive heat can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the NHS.
People looking after babies, especially when outdoors, have been warned to take steps to make sure they are coping in the warm weather.
Leading children’s charities have caution that while covering prams might seem like a good idea, it could prove to be a very dangerous error.
The Lullaby Trust, a charity aiming to reduce the number of SIDS cases in the UK, ‘urges parents not to cover their baby’s pram with blankets or cloths that prevents the air from circulating’.
A spokesperson continued: ‘Covering a pram with a blanket could lead to overheating, which increases the chance of SIDS and creates a barrier between parent and child, making it difficult to spot signs that baby is getting too hot.’
Instead, the charity advised prams ‘should be covered with a clip-on sunshade to keep baby out of direct sunlight and their temperature monitored to avoid overheating’.
Jenny Ward, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust, said: ‘We would recommend parents 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.’
A spokesperson for the National Childbirth echoed their advice, telling The Telegraph: ‘Although putting a covering like a muslin or a blanket over the buggy might seem like a good idea to keep the sun off your baby, it stops the air circulating and can make them too hot.’
The Lullaby Trust is urging parents to keep their babies out of direct sunlight and take precautions when indoors too.
Blinds and curtains in the room where a child sleeps should be closed, a fan could be used to keep air circulating, layers of clothing should be used and the baby’s temperature should be monitored, whether with a simple touch of the skin or with a thermometer.
SIDS is extremely rare but is responsible for the deaths of around 200 babies every year in the UK.
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