Dressing toddlers can prove to be challenging in the best of circumstances. Add to the picture unforgiving summer heat and we have ourselves a real conundrum. While it is natural to want to dress the children in as little clothing as possible as temperatures soar, it is important to gear up with the right protection to safely enjoy the summer sunshine. The idea is to keep the young ones cool yet protected from head to toe. Here are some tips for dressing toddlers for the hot summer months.
1. Fabric: Natural Vs Synthetic
Where synthetic materials such as polyester are known for their durability and for being cheaper, natural fabrics such as cotton are breathable and are known to keep one feeling cooler than anything synthetic. It is best to stick to light cotton garments, especially in the summers when excessive sweating in synthetic clothes may lead to development of rashes on skin. Lightweight cotton allows air to reach the body and lets sweat evaporate, preventing irritation and cooling the skin.
2. Clothing: Too Little Vs Too Much
There is a simple rule that needs to be followed when dressing young children; if any outfit would be too warm for you as a parent; it is going to be too warm for the child too. It is a myth that children need to be dressed warmer than adults, because they are more susceptible to falling ill. In reality children are less capable of cooling themselves down via sweating and hence can become over heated very quickly.
Light colored cotton fabrics are best for dressing in the summer whether you are a toddler or not. Dressing in loose fitting clothes also will keep the child cool. Contrary to what instinct may dictate in terms of baring skin to cool down, it is important to cover as much skin as possible with light fabric for maximum protection against the elements (think standing in the shade versus blazing hot sun).
Hats are important to protect your child’s face and eyes against the sun. Select a hat with a wide brim for maximum shade, with flaps that shade the ears and neck. Shop with your child to find a hat that fits well, doesn’t slip off while running and most importantly doesn’t block vision.
Often children can be spotted sporting colorful cute sunglasses. Where these glasses may look adorable they are often causing the child’s eyes more damage than good, the damage not becoming apparent until adulthood. Protection against the sun’s harmful rays is a great idea and hence sunglasses are certainly recommended. However, excess caution needs to be exercised during selection of shades. Only use sunglasses with a label certifying 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, or UV absorption up to 400 nm. This ensures that the lenses block out the harmful rays. Dark lenses without UV protection can actually increase the damage to the eyes, because they allow the pupils to dilate and let in more dangerous rays.
5. Ideal Footwear
Sweating is one way the human body cools down. Babies have a limited ability to sweat – they only sweat from their neck, hands, feet and head (30% of their overall body.) Because of this, they can become overheated very quickly. Putting socks and hats on babies when it’s hot further limits their ability to cool themselves down. It is best to ditch the socks and hats in summer and opt for well-fitting sandals instead. Choose sandals that allow air to move in and out freely, but provide good grip for growing feet at the same time, and have rubber soles with traction that prevent slippage. Flip flops are hazardous and should be limited to use in bathrooms, at the beach, and around swimming pools.
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