Babies and children in the summer, how to behave

Who I am
Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
Author and references

After having thought about the summer in pregnancy from A to Z, now it's our kids' turn. Especially if they are still very young, the warm season could upset them a bit. And maybe, if it is the first child, we are not quite ready to manage the heat, the sea, the sleep that becomes more difficult. We therefore give you a kind of "survival manual" to fully enjoy the summer in the company of our puppies. 

A – API. They fall into the category of "painful summer encounters", together with jellyfish, sea urchins, nettles. The first thing to do is to remove the stinger embedded in the skin as soon as possible to prevent the venom from circulating. Then something cold should be applied to the area and then an anti-inflammatory cream. In addition to intense pain, the real danger is allergic reactions. Those predisposed can also undergo anaphylactic shock. If you are already aware of the problem, you should always have an antihistamine with you and, in serious cases, a ready syringe of adrenaline. 



B - BATHROOM. Obviously we do not mean the bath to be done at home, but the one by the sea. Yes, because all mothers want to know when they can start having their children do it. You shouldn't be in a hurry: there is time to make them become skilled Michael Phelps or Federica Pellegrini. Before 6 months, swimming in the sea is not recommended. First of all it must be remembered that, up to this age, infants should not be exposed to the sun. They should therefore go to the beach very early in the morning or in the late afternoon. For a newborn, the sea water could be really too cold. It is therefore advisable to go step by step. Start by getting his feet wet and see his reaction. Then sit together on the water's edge and watch the waves come and go. You can also fill a small rubber pool and let it warm up in the sun, then play with the water. Always observe the behavior of your puppy and adjust accordingly: he will be able to make you understand when the time has come to dive. For older children, we suggest reading: Children at the sea, the good rules for swimming after meals



C - KINETOSIS. This term refers to the discomfort caused by movement. Motion sickness, sea sickness, air sickness, very common among children, are therefore part of it. But how to tell if a baby is sick in the car, considering that he can't tell us? It is not true that he does not communicate it to us: he does it with crying, which is the first sign of a possible discomfort in the car. As children grow up various symptoms occur: paleness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness are some of these. Not everyone is there, but even just a few. So here are some tips to face a journey peacefully. We refer the choice of any type of pharmacological product to the pediatrician. Avoid liquid meals before getting in the car (or plane, train, ship): it is better to prefer something dry, such as bread, crackers, rusks, pasta seasoned in a simple way. No to fasting (it could make the baby feel even worse) and drinking drinks. Children should stay as still as possible, without getting distracted with their smartphone, for example. Rather, sing, repeat nursery rhymes, chat. Keep the car cool with the windows open or the air conditioning. Take a few stops every now and then. Try the anti-nausea bracelets: they put pressure on the wrist which reduces the symptoms of motion sickness. 

D - TEETH. For many children, the eruption of the teeth is a real torment: pain, intolerance, nervousness, lack of appetite, malaise. Sometimes in summer these disturbances are accentuated by the heat, which makes everything more complex. Generally, the 2 lower median incisors are the first to appear. The others arrive every two months or so, but that's not an absolute rule. The next are the 2 upper median incisors, then the 4 lateral incisors, the first lower molars, the canines, followed by the other molars. So how can we help the little ones to endure the boredom of sprouting teeth? Use the classic items to refrigerate in the refrigerator. Cold is a natural anesthetic, so improvement will be assured. On top of all, the rough part exercises an effective massage. According to the same principle, you can wipe the gums with a linen or cotton handkerchief moistened with fresh water. Don't give too hot food for lunch or dinner. The same goes for baby bottles too. Always let the baby food cool down because the heat increases the sensation of pain. If you are breastfeeding, offer the breast often to the puppy: in addition to feeding him, it is a great consolation for him. On the advice of your pediatrician, choose ointments based on natural products with calming properties, such as chamomile, thyme, calendula or mallow. Ask him for any suggestions on pain medications to use.



E - ERITEMA. As we mentioned when talking about swimming in the sea, the skin of babies (and more generally of children) is extremely delicate and must be protected with great attention from the sun. It is a good rule to use sun creams with a very high protection factor (50+) and, in the case of older children, repeat the application often, especially after bathing. Sometimes, however, all this is not enough and an annoying sunburn could appear. It is a rash with redness and small dots that are very itchy. In the simplest cases the problem is solved without any kind of intervention, avoiding exposure to the sun. If, on the other hand, the erythema is more serious or very extensive, specific ointments or tablets should be used, for example based on corticosteroids. 

F - DRUGS. Unless you go somewhere out of the way, there shouldn't be many medications to take on vacation. An antipyretic, possibly in packages that do not suffer much from excessive heat or cold: today there are powder or buccal granules formulations, they dissolve in the mouth, and are easy to transport and administer. For infants under about three months, in case of fever, a doctor should always be consulted. Then bring an antidiarrheal: both the classic lactic ferments and an intestinal astringent, which serves to reduce discharges and therefore avoid dehydration; a broad spectrum antibiotic, to be administered only if necessary and after having consulted, perhaps by telephone, your pediatrician; a pack of cortisone, both orally and in ointment, especially if there is an asthmatic or otherwise allergic person, but also to be used in case of allergic reactions after insect bites or food allergies; otological drops in case of earache, with the precaution not to use them if blood is leaking from the ear. Do not forget the ointments for protection from UVA rays and some disinfectant products for small wounds. Other specific drugs should be taken if the child is suffering from chronic diseases.



G - ICE CREAM. Raise your hand if you don't want a good ice cream during the hot summer days. Nothing better to cool off and to indulge that irresistible desire for sweet. But how to deal with the little ones? When to start giving it to him? And which one to choose between packaged and artisanal? In general, the best time to let the little ones taste the ice cream is around 12 months of age, paying attention to hygiene and the ingredients used during processing. Watch out for calories too. For example, if we choose an ice cream with cream, the single portion will have more than 300 calories. Milk instead will have more or less 200, fruit about 100. The wafer of cones and biscuits increases the caloric intake. Ice cream is a food that contains nutritional and protein elements that can interfere with the balance of the baby's nutritional needs. On the one hand, industrial ice cream (i.e. packaged ice cream) is a safe product because very strict hygiene and quality standards are followed for its realization. On the other hand, artisanal ice creams (also safe for the rest) with fruit, without milk, without dyes, are preferred for the freshness of the ingredients used. The choice of which and how much ice cream to give must be made by the parents, taking into account the child's constitution, weight, habits, if he tends to get fat and so on. In any case, ice cream can become the perfect substitute for the classic mid-morning or mid-afternoon “snack” based on yogurt or milk. In any case, even if they would eat them, it should be offered no more than three times a week to the little ones.

H—HOTEL. It is the same option that we had also chosen when talking about pregnancy in the summer. Yes, because when you travel with a small child, the choice of the place to spend your holidays should not be done superficially. If the baby is just a few months old, any solution is fine, both in the case of breastfeeding and formula feeding. If weaning has already begun, things change a little. An apartment by the sea or in the mountains makes life a little more comfortable if you have to prepare baby food and snacks, but it is also true that you just need to inquire well with the hotels to find a solution. Generally, they are all very helpful when it comes to a newborn. To avoid surprises, however, it is better to ask in advance if there is the possibility of preparing the dishes for your child. The hotel with entertainment is very convenient if you have older children who can then play, have fun and socialize with their peers while mum and dad are relaxing. In the country (and also abroad) there are so-called "family hotels" which are specifically designed to accommodate families with children. Look for the ideal one for your needs. 

I - INSOLATION. Insolation (or heat stroke) occurs when it is very hot, the humidity is high and the body temperature rises suddenly. Children are often affected and the symptoms vary, even in intensity. Among them are nausea, headache, a rise in temperature, cramps, fainting. In severe cases there may be alterations of consciousness and, if there is direct exposure to the sun, even first and second degree burns. The Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital has created a handbook to prevent sunburn. 1- Avoid the hottest hours to go out and do physical or sporting activity. 2- Expose the baby to the sun gradually, never from 11 to 17. 3- Avoid direct exposure to the sun in infants under 6-8 months of age. 4- Use high protection sun creams to avoid irreversible damage to the skin. 5- Wet the baby's head and often refresh the body with a bath or shower. 6- Wear light clothing in natural fibers to promote greater perspiration. 7- Prefer light colors to repel the sun's rays. 8- Increase the ventilation in the places where the little one stays, taking care to keep an ambient temperature of 23-24 °. 9- Reduce caloric intake in particular that provided by fatty foods: it is preferable to take simple carbohydrates that are more rapidly digestible. 10- Increase the water intake to replenish the fluids lost through sweating. Give preference to a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

L - READ. It is never too early to start reading something to our children and summer is a perfect time. There are those who argue that it should be done while they are inside the baby bump, because this way they quickly learn to recognize the sweet voice of their mother. Even if they seem very small to you, for example around 8-9 months, know that instead it is a wonderful opportunity for growth and knowledge. You just need to know how to choose the right book for the right age. Those with animals, for example, are always able to catalyze attention, especially if they are associated with verses or in any case with noises produced by the book itself. Little stories can be chosen as the child grows, without ever neglecting the drawings: they are the most attractive part for them. At the age of 3-4 you can begin to experiment with texts that leave a teaching to the children, even if expressed in a simple way. Examples are the books that help to abandon the pacifier or that explain the arrival of a little brother. The further you go, the more varied and interesting the choice becomes. All that remains is to devote some time to this habit: it affects the growth and future of our children. 

M - MEDUSE. Here is another pitfall of beach holidays. Where it is clean and not particularly cold it is possible to come across jellyfish. Some are quite beautiful to look at, but the contact is not pleasant at all. The stinging part of the medusa are the tentacles, while the dome is completely harmless. The problem is that these are often long and avoiding them is difficult. What to do? First of all, you must check that there are no residues of the jellyfish left on the skin. If there are, they should be removed by rinsing the part with sea water to dilute the toxins. The ideal product to pass on the affected part is an astringent gel with aluminum chloride: it stops itching and the spread of toxins. A good alternative is to apply a solution based on water and bicarbonate. And then use an aloe vera gel and a calendula cream, excellent natural remedies with healing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions. The affected part must be covered with sterile gauze both to prevent sand from entering the painful area and to avoid exposure to sunlight. In severe cases, it's best to go to the nearest emergency room.

N - NANNA. During the holidays, the sleep of newborns can be severely tested by various factors: the heat, moving to holiday resorts, changing habits, the presence of many new stimuli. And parents often get confused wondering what's wrong. Everything is perfectly normal. Except that sometimes we do not remember that the little ones are very sensitive to any kind of variation in their routine: it takes very little to "get them high" a little. So, first of all you need to arm yourself with a lot of patience. If you think about it carefully, even us adults need a few days of "settling in" on vacation before relaxing well. So how to manage any nocturnal awakenings and difficulty falling asleep? The solution is to try to organize yourself in order to make everything as regular as possible. Maintain daily naps, do not wake the little one to eat, let him self-manage himself. Some children are more adaptable than others. For example, some benefit from Mom and Dad's evening walks, while others are less used to and get nervous and cry. In this case, you must be the one to adapt to their needs, without pretending that it is the opposite: it is impossible for this to happen. To cope with the heat (the little ones tolerate it worse than us) try to let the baby sleep in a cool place, both day and night. Air conditioning can be good for cooling the room before bed, but not all night. And watch out for the fans: never aim them directly at the body. 

O - OTITE. Earache is one of the most frequent summer problems that affect children. There are two main forms of otitis: the external one and the purulent one. The first is acute inflammation of the external ear canal, without involvement of the eardrum. Purulent otitis media, on the other hand, concerns the middle ear, is characterized by the presence of pus and is more common in the winter months. The cause of otitis externa is usually infectious. The responsible agents are bacteria or sometimes fungi, which are easy to find in humid environments, such as sea water or swimming pools. So it is the classic form of the summer period. Typically, it begins with itching and a muffled sensation of sounds, followed by intense pain. Treatment usually consists of administering cortisone and antibiotic-based drops directly into the ear, although in more serious cases (for example if there is a fever), oral therapy is also required. Purulent otitis media almost always has a bacterial cause and can develop after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold. Symptoms include fever, earache, a tendency of the baby to touch his ears, inconsolable crying, difficulty sleeping, pus leaking from the ear. Treatment involves the use of antipyretics, anti-inflammatories and, if necessary, antibiotics.

P - NAPPY. Summer is the favorite period for mothers who, when the right time comes, decide to take the diaper off their babies. The warm season allows you to do it with greater peace of mind because you can leave your little one free at home, even half-naked, without the risk of catching a cold if he gets wet. Before starting you need to understand if the child is ready (we talked about it HERE) by observing some fairly clear signs. Generally this happens between 2 and 3 years, but there are no precise rules: there are those who are more precocious and those who are a little more lazy. The first step then is the choice of the potty or the reducer to use to permanently abandon the diaper. There are many different models on the market and the important thing is that your child accepts it willingly. Introduce him as a friend who helps him grow up. A good way to start is to take the diaper off for a few hours a day, progressively increasing this time throughout the day. Propose the potty several times, so that the child can become familiar and understand the frequency of her needs. Don't leave your little one on the potty for too long and stay with him, encourage him and compliment him. If nothing happens, allow 10-15 minutes to pass before trying again. Try not to stress it and not to stress yourself. The "spannolinare" requires a good dose of patience. 

R - RICCI DI MARE. Beautiful to look at and very good to eat, they are definitely less pleasant when it happens to put a foot on them because the quills are very painful. You have to be very careful especially on the rocks which is the habitat they prefer. If this happens, you need to extract the quills from the skin with tweezers or a needle (possibly after sterilizing them) and then clean the part with hydrogen peroxide. The foot must be bandaged after applying a specific ointment and prevent the child from putting the weight of the body on the affected part. If removal is complicated or if you feel unsure of yourself, it is best to contact the hospital doctors. A preventive strategy against sea urchin quills and to prevent, in general, unpleasant encounters at the sea is to have the little one wear rubber shoes that protect the skin from any "accidents along the way".

S - WEANING. Some mothers still wonder if summer is the right time to start weaning. They have doubts about whether or not to insert this new power supply mode with high temperatures. And then they ask the pediatrician if it is not appropriate to postpone it to September. There is actually no contraindication to weaning your babies in the summer. You certainly don't start with a slice of Sacher torte or aubergine parmigiana (unless of course you are a fan of car weaning which involves random and non-chronological insertions). Classic weaning is done in stages, with the introduction of food in a gradual and controlled way: small quantities every day following the tables provided by the pediatrician. Usually, the most common scheme is to start with homogenized fruit. Therefore, there is no fear that it may be "heavy" for the little one. The same for the first vegetables and baby food. However, it is essential to observe the child's reactions: a mother has an attentive eye and will immediately perceive if there is something wrong. In that case, just contact your doctor who will immediately reassure you and advise you.

T - DIVE. Children are great lovers of diving. Splashes and splashes in the sea and jumps from the diving board into the pool are everyone's passion (with some obvious exceptions). Especially for older children, caution is never too much. Rock diving, for example, can be really dangerous. Carefully observe the point from which the child is thrown: check that there are no protruding rocks and above all that the depth is adequate to avoid risks. In addition, sudden immersion in water causes a pressure surge in the ears. However, the increase is not excessive and therefore does not create problems for the eardrum membranes. However, if our child is prone to ear infections (especially in winter), the use of ear plugs could be useful. Completely different is the discourse of diving in depth: in this case it is necessary to follow ad hoc courses. Finally, the last aspect to consider when children love to dive is digestion. The sudden temperature change can cause dangerous congestion. After eating, at least a couple of hours must pass (obviously depending on the amount of food eaten) and - more importantly - it is better to immerse yourself gradually. 

U - OUTPUTS. During the summer evenings, a walk can be very pleasant. Obviously with the children in tow! For the little ones, well placed in their stroller or egg, a stroll can be the best way to reconcile sleep. The advice is therefore to dress the baby already with the pajamas and a clean diaper, so as not to have to change it once back home (with the risk of waking him up). There are only two things to watch out for when going out in the evening: humidity and mosquitoes. To counteract the first, it is advisable to take a cotton blanket with you on vacation to cover the child during the walk. In addition, the stroller hood must be raised in order to protect the head above all. The systems against mosquitoes are different. Generally, you will always find a mosquito net supplied with the stroller, a sort of light sheet to cover the child. Then there are various repellent systems, from natural sprays to patches. Experience the best for you and have a good walk!

V - VACCINI. Another “existential” doubt of mothers: isn't it better to postpone vaccinations to September, considering that sometimes they can cause side effects such as fever and malaise? If there were obvious contraindications to vaccines in the summer, the vaccination centers could remain closed from June to September, but this is not the case. Even in summer, therefore, it is possible to proceed with the normal vaccination course of our children. In any case, the pediatrician is always available for any clarification on the matter. 

Z - BACKPACK. Both at the sea and in the mountains it is the most convenient way to bring with you everything you need for a child on vacation. The practicality? It lies in the fact that, carrying it on your shoulders, you will have your hands free on the beach, during a walk in the woods, on the plane or on the train. Modern backpacks are fully equipped with many pockets and compartments. Some are even thermal to safely store milk or other foods. In addition, compared to the classic bags that give together with the trio, they are more capacious. In short, they are ideal for mothers, fathers and globe-trotters. And at this point we just have to wish you… happy holidays !!

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