What temperature of the baby’s bath during a heat wave?

Clár ábhair

Cén teocht atá ag folctha an linbh le linn tonn teasa?

During a heat wave, various tips exist to cool the baby. The bath is one, but at what temperature to give it? Some tips to bring a little freshness to the baby without him catching a cold.

A baby very sensitive to temperature variations

The baby is one of the populations at risk during a heat wave. At birth, his thermal regulation system does not work very well, so he is very sensitive to temperature variations. And because its skin surface is very large and its skin very thin, it can quickly catch cold or, on the contrary, take hot. The bath is an effective way to refresh it when the temperatures rise, but you have to keep in mind your extreme sensitivity to the cold to find the right temperature: one that will bring it a little cool without making it catch cold.

A lukewarm bath, but not cold

Usually, the temperature of the baby bath should be 37 ° C, or its body temperature. To prevent it from getting cold, the room temperature should be around 22-24 ° C. 

During a heat wave, when the baby is suffering from heat, it is possible to lower the water temperature by 1 or 2 degrees, but not more. Below 35 ° C, the baby could catch a cold. When leaving the bath, take care to dry baby well and avoid applying a moisturizer: in the event of extreme heat, the risk of dermatitis is increased, so you must let the skin breathe as much as possible, without putting anything on it. 

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When the thermometer is rising, these lukewarm baths can be given several times a day and before bed. However, they should not last too long: the idea is only to cool the baby. There is also no need to soap it each time, it would attack his fragile skin. If it seems cold, it is better to cut short the swim. Never try to heat the water with the hot tap while the baby is in the bath.

Be careful, however: if the baby seems to have suffered a heat stroke (it is hot, red), no lukewarm bath, the thermal shock would be too great for his body already weakened by hypothermia. Ditto if he has a fever: it is no longer recommended to give the baby a lukewarm bath, as it used to be. In case of fever, lukewarm baths can indeed promote convulsions. 

Refresh your baby differently

To refresh baby during a heat wave, other little tips exist. Like that consisting in slightly moistening a cloth (washcloth, diaper, washable wipe) and placing it delicately, for a few seconds, on the baby’s stomach and legs. The laundry should not be completely wet, as there is a risk that the baby will catch cold. 

A small stroke of spring water mist, about twenty centimeters from the baby, is also particularly effective. Be careful, however, to have a light hand on the pschitt: the idea is to surround baby with a light refreshing mist, not to wet him completely.

Bathing in the sea and in the swimming pool: avoid before 6 months

During a heat wave, it is tempting to let baby enjoy the joys of water by offering him a swim in the sea or in the swimming pool. However, it is strongly discouraged before 6 months. Sea or swimming pool water (even heated) is far too cool for babies used to being bathed in water at 37 ° C. The thermal shock would be too great, all the more so with a very high outside temperature. In addition, the baby’s immature immune system does not allow it to protect itself effectively against bacteria, germs and other microbes potentially present in sea or swimming pool water. 

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After 6 months, it is possible to bathe baby, but with great care: taking care to wet the neck and stomach before, and only a few minutes. He still catches cold very quickly at this age. A basin or a small inflatable swimming pool in the garden or on the terrace are also a good way to refresh him, while making him discover the joys of water. But these small swims must always be done out of the sun and under the continuous supervision of an adult. 

Baby heatstroke: knowing how to recognize the warning signs

In infants, the first signs of heat stroke combine: 

  • fiabhras

  • a pallor

  • drowsiness or unusual agitation

  • intense thirst with weight loss

  • Faced with these signs, it is important to:

    • put the child in a cool room 

  • give him a drink immediately and regularly 

  • lower fever by bathing one to two degrees below body temperature. 

  • In the event of disturbance of consciousness, refusal or inability to drink, an abnormal color of the skin, a fever above 40 ° C, the emergency services must be called immediately by dialing 15.


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