Stroller covers might be more dangerous than we thought
Too much sun exposure can be a dangerous thing for babies, but have you ever thought about the possible consequences of keeping them covered? A recent study found that covering up a baby’s car seat or stroller can actually be pretty dangerous — even with those thin muslin covers that are so popular.
According to Parents Magazine, researchers in Sweden are warning parents after a study found covering strollers and car seats, even with a thin blanket, can result in “furnace-like temperatures” underneath the covering. Svante Norgren, a pediatrician at Astrid Lindgren children’s hospital in Stockholm, told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet,“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos. There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram.”
The newspaper decided to recreate the conditions Lindgren was talking about to see the results for themselves, and what they discovered was shocking. Without a cover, the temperature inside a stroller left outdoors was around 72 degrees. When they added a thin cloth, the temperature inside reached 93 degrees within 30 minutes. After an hour, it hit 100 degrees.
It seems like common sense that when you cover something, the air gets trapped inside and heats up. But, would any parent really suspect that the temperature inside their stroller could hit 100 degrees? Probably not. In fact, many might assume that since they’re providing shade, it’d be cooler in there — and that’s exactly what puts babies at risk.
As Baby Center points out, babies can experience rapid increases in body temperature, and they don’t sweat much, so they have trouble cooling down. That means babies are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke, and it can occur in a matter of minutes. Being too hot is also considered a contributing factor to SIDS.
So, how do you keep your baby cool and still avoid too much direct sun exposure?
Christian Nechyba, a pediatrician at Carolina Kids Pediatrics in North Carolina, tells ABC News she recommends a stroller with a large canopy and a removable back panel. She also says to shop for strollers in lighter colors, and possibly even consider attaching a small fan that clips onto the stroller’s handle bars. And, of course, babies and kids should always be offered plenty of fluids.
The instinct to cover babies up and protect them from the sun is a good one. We just have to make sure we aren’t creating new dangers in the process.