It is challenging to keep a child cool and comfortable in a stroller when those summer days really start to heat up. A hot baby is generally an unhappy baby, which can quickly take the fun out of a family day out.
However, through a combination of intentional stroller selection and a few handy hacks when using the stroller you can keep kids comfortable on the hottest of days.
In this article, we will share 13 tips to help you keep your kids cool when using a stroller and minimize the risk of discomfort.
The Danger of Overheating in a Stroller
Overheating is a genuine threat to your baby’s health. When using a stroller you may not be as aware of your baby’s well-being compared to if they showed signs of overheating in a baby carrier.
Look out 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 Stroller
Here is your sun-safe checklist to keep your baby cool in their stroller when you are planning a big family day out on a hot summer day.
1. Wear Light Clothing
The most important thing you can do to prevent your baby from discomfort is to dress for the conditions. When it is hot you must dress light!
Go for clothes that are loose-fitting and breathable to minimize the heat being trapped by the layer of fabric.
2. Avoid Direct Sunlight
When the stroller is placed in direct sun rays the heat in the seating area gets amplified even if your baby is protected by a sunshade.
Wherever possible you should stick to shaded areas. Especially if the stroller is sitting there stagnant which will limit any breeze manufactured from the movement.
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 suns rays and direct exposure should be avoided regardless of temperature.
3. Use a Stroller Umbrella
If you cannot avoid direct sunlight then an umbrella can prevent the sunlight from hitting the sunshade.
The extra barrier that blocks the light can protect the cover and reduce the heat passing through to the seat area.
It is unlikely to cover the whole stroller though, and should only be a temporary solution until you can move to a cooler shaded area.
4. Ensure Easy Access to a Cold Water Bottle
It is critical to keep your baby hydrated on a hot day and the best way to do this in a stroller is to have a water bottle accessible at all times.
Keep track of how much water they are consuming and if they are not self-serving often enough you will have to give them some encouragement and assist them semi-regularly.
Good hydration is fundamental to keeping your baby cool.
5. Breastfeed Often (Or Feed with Pumped Milk)
If your child’s meals can also be in liquid form then this will help with their hydration levels. If you are unable to breastfeed when out with your baby then pumped breast milk would do just fine.
Water is then to just supplement their hydration in between feeds and will require much less effort.
6. Place a Wet Towel or Cooler Pack on Seat
There are some great DIY options to cool down the 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 longer exposure to direct sun.
7. Remove The Stroller Back Panel
Some strollers have a removable back panel that exposes a mesh underlay.
This 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.
A very effective option when you are continually walking in an exposed area.
8. Choose a Stroller With a Sunshade
You should always choose a stroller with a good sunshade regardless of the type of climate you live in.
The protection this provides will be useful in all weather conditions and is one of the most important design features to support your baby’s comfort levels.
Strollers with an extendable sunshade will provide the best protection but can be more expensive. If this is out of your budget then check out the following option.
9. Use a Stroller Canopy Extender
A universal canopy extender is a cheap and easy way to maximize the shade provided to your child at a low cost.
You can pair a budget stroller and a canopy extender and create a well-protected environment for much less than what a premium model would cost.
However, you will be able to almost fully enclose the seating area which can trap too much heat and create a dangerous environment. So always ensure there is good ventilation!
10. Use a Stroller Fan
Speaking of maximizing ventilation, if you need to circulate heat that could be trapped by a canopy extension one of your best options is to use a stroller fan.
Stroller fans circulate airflow within the canopy and keep a steady breeze running over your baby’s face. If you combine this with one of our homemade cooling hacks then you have built a stroller air conditioning equivalent.
The hum of the fan can also have a calming effect on your little one despite any lingering discomfort from the warm conditions.
11. Suitable Stroller Fabric
There are two elements to selecting the right kind of stroller fabric for hot summer weather; the material iteslf, and how that material is designed.
You will of course need light and breathable fabrics for the seating panels and stroller cover as the foundation of a comfortable unit.
Avoid plushy material around the seating area and anything else that is generally thick & soft.
You should also then look at how the material is designed to promote ventilation. This is where the better quality strollers have an edge.
Budget strollers will often have one solid piece of fabric. Whereas a more expensive model will have removable panels that expose mesh material that will greatly increase the flow of natural air and comfort levels of your kids.
12. Use Gelled Stroller Liners
While this may sound like it contradicts the advice to remove the back seat panel, a seat liner can also have cooling effects that will help your baby be more comfortable.
This is generated by the type of material used in the liner. The breathable fabric and absorbent cushion help absorb sweat and help create space for air to circulate under and behind your baby when in the seat.
If you select a liner that uses a gel inside the cushions then these can hold cold temperatures in a similar way to a cooler pack. You can place these in the fridge prior to use in hot weather.
13. Choose Lighter Colors
Many parents will gravitate toward darker colors when buying a baby buggy due to the fact that they hide stains better.
Unfortunately, these darker colors are also the best at absorbing heat! This increases the risk of your child overheating when in the stroller seat.
So if you live in a warmer climate then choosing strollers with lighter colors will help improve your baby’s comfort levels and reduce the risk of excess heat.
Safety Precautions in Hot Weather
How Hot Is Too Hot For a Baby Stroller
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 better than a younger infant.
- The type of pram you are using.
- How much effort you put into your preparation (see all 13 tips above!).
However, if you are looking for a single recommendation The American Academy of Pediatrics provides guidelines that suggest the heat index should be below 90°F (32°C) to safely venture outside.
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.
You can go outside and enjoy the warm summer days comfortably with your baby in a stroller with some basic preparation. None of the ideas in this article are difficult but they do require forethought.
Infants have a lower tolerance for drastic changes in temperature and there are genuine health risks that come from overheating in a stroller.
So do not take anything for granted and certainly do not assume your own comfort levels will determine how your baby is feeling.