As the winter months approach, parents are preparing to keep their babies warm in fluffy coats and plenty of blankets. While it is important to keep babies comfortable in chilly conditions, babies cannot tell us when they start to feel too warm. Additionally, over-bundling can keep a child from being secure in a car seat. Here are some of the top dangers of over-bundling parents should be mindful of.
- Bulky clothes keep car seats from being secure: In order for your child’s car seat to do its job, the harness straps must be able to fasten snugly around your child. A bulky coat prevents the straps from being secure in a collision, as it will cause the straps to be looser than they need to be. Solution: Before you buckle your child in their car seat, take off their bulky coat. Safe Kids Worldwide advises placing your child’s coat or a blanket over top of the child after they have been safely buckled into their car seat harness to keep them warm and safe during cold-weather car trips.
- Babies can sweat too much and become dehydrated: When adults are too warm, we can remove layers or turn down the thermostat. Babies do not have the independence to do these things, so an over-bundled baby may begin to sweat excessively, causing him or her to lose body fluids quickly and even become dangerously dehydrated. Solution:Take note if your bundled-up baby seems to be sweating more than usual, or if you notice they have not urinated in a while. Remove blankets or excessive layers of clothing, and be sure to replenish their fluids. Consult your pediatrician if you feel your baby may be dehydrated.
- Babies can overheat in their sleep:
An infant swaddled in too many blankets or clothes runs the risk of overheating in their sleep. This can be dangerous, even fatal in some cases. Babies cannot regulate their own body temperature; therefore it is up to their caregivers to create an environment where the baby is not likely to overheat. Solution: To prevent unsafe sleep-related infant deaths, all babies should sleep alone, on their backs, & in a crib. All babies need is a tight fitting sheet on top of a firm mattress without any blankets, comforters, or bumpers. Babies can wear sleep sacks to keep them comfortable instead. Rather than keeping your child warm with multiple layers of fabric, try to keep the temperature of their room comfortable. Keep in mind: if the room is too warm for you, it is probably too warm for your baby.
This information is courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization that partners with community organizations to keep kids safe. Click here to learn more about UMMC’s partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide’s local chapter, the Baltimore Safe Kids Coalition, or call 410-328-7532.