Infants are so small and vulnerable. It’s only natural for a parent to want to always keep them warm and comfortable, but that leads to questioning when they need extra protection from the elements. Our babies can’t tell us what they need, so it’s up to us to spread the word, backed by science and past learnings.
Babies do not need to wear socks in summer because they will get too hot and can overheat quickly. Babies need to wear socks in cooler months and temperatures because they are susceptible to hypothermia and are much more vulnerable to the elements than adults.
Many would say it’s a good idea to take extra pairs of baby socks with you when leaving the house in winter, or cooler days in other seasons, and to layer your baby up before you go. But there’s a fine line to be cautious about too because babies can overheat just as quickly as they can freeze, especially in summer. Ask yourself, would you like to be wearing socks on a hot summer day?
Do Babies Need Socks in Summer?
Many before you have asked whether socks and beanies are a necessary clothing item for babies in warmer months. Particularly as a new parent, it’s important to ask if you’re feeling unsure. I would highly recommend not putting socks on your baby in hot summer months or other hot days during the year.
Just like you would in winter, if you’re leaving the house, it’s a good idea to take a couple of pairs of spare socks just in case the weather starts to cool down. You don’t want your baby to freeze of course!
There is also the case of visiting friends that may have their air conditioning blasting through the house, in which case it might as well be winter in your friend’s home as far as your little one is concerned. They will need socks to keep them warm while you’re visiting.
Why Don’t Babies Need Socks in Summer?
When the cool autumn months start to get warmer, and temperatures hit above 75◦ F (23°C) it’s almost a safe bet that you would be too warm to wear socks. A general rule is that if you’re too hot, your baby is too.
When speaking with a friend of mine recently who has been a registered nurse and working in a hospital for 20 years, she said the simple, yet frightening, reason, why babies don’t need socks in summer, is because they overheat easily and quickly.
Overheating in adults can be a simple fix with the removal of some layers, a cold drink, and a cold shower. Unfortunately for babies, it’s not quite as simple sometimes.
Overheating in babies comes with various other concerns like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and heat rash and this applies in both winter and summer months. Don’t put too many layers on your baby unless you’re going to check on them regularly.
Some other concerns from overheating include:
Keep an eye on your baby’s pulse and skin condition. Clammy skin and a weak pulse could mean they have heat exhaustion, and you should call a doctor immediately according to Healthline
A high body temperature, sweating (if over a couple of weeks old), lethargic behaviors, and fewer wet nappies can be a sign that your infant is dehydrated and needs immediate attention
Dehydration can also occur in other months if you dress your baby in too many layers or put them to sleep or for a nap in swaddles, extra blankets, and too many clothing layers so watch out for signs of dehydration in winter too.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Uncomfortable
It’s frustrating for a parent, especially new parents, when your baby is crying or begging for attention and you’re not sure why. You’ve probably muttered the words “please just tell me what you need” more than once, we’ve all been there.
For those of us who have been there, the signs are easier to spot. For those new parents out there, here is what you can look out for to tell if your baby is getting too hot:
- Looking flushed (even in cooler months)
- Being restless, won’t settle, acts fussy
- Overly tired and sluggish but won’t settle into sleep
- Elevated heart rate
- Feels hot to touch with or without a fever
- Temperature readings over 98.5°F (36.4°C) are not typically normal for a baby
The last sign to look out for is sweating because babies rarely sweat the first few weeks of their life because their sweat glands aren’t fully developed and functional yet. If your baby is a few months old, sweating will be a sign of overheating or fever among other possible illnesses.
Because babies’ bodies are still small and developing, they cannot regulate body temperatures as well as we can so the ideal room temperature, as recommended by WebMD, for an infant is between 68°F and 72°F (20°C and 22°C) all year round.
It’s recommended that you keep a thermostat in your baby’s room to keep an eye on the temperature in their room. A thermostat in the lounge or kitchen might not provide accurate readings for every room of the house.
If your baby is showing any of the above signs, I’d recommend calling a doctor to get their advice but also in the meantime, try some of the below suggestions to lower their overheated body temperature to a more normal level.
If you find it difficult to get their temperature levels and their body cooler, seek help from a pediatrician asap. They won’t judge you for being cautious with your baby’s life.
How to Keep Your Baby Cool in Summer
No, we don’t mean dress them up in a cute outfit to make them look “cool”, although we do love cute outfits on our kids, don’t we?
Doctors advise you to dress your infants by considering how you would dress yourself according to the temperature and weather of the day. This goes for when you’re sleeping too. If it’s too hot for you to wear thermal nightwear to bed, it’s most likely going to be too hot for your baby too.
Here are a few tips to implement to keep your baby’s body temperature just right:
- Keep them out of direct sunlight
- Do not put their cot under a window or near a heater/radiator or air conditioner
- Never leave your baby or child in a car unattended, even if you’re just quickly popping in to the shops
- Lower the room temperature slightly if it’s above 74°F (23°C) with a fan or air conditioning
- Keep the air in your house circulating and ventilated
- If you don’t have air conditioning, visit friends and family or public spaces like a shopping center, community hall, or library to make sure your baby has a break from the heat during the day
- If spending time outdoors, keep them shaded and take them inside for cooler intervals
- Avoid dressing them in too many layers, this includes socks and hats especially in summer and, preferably, use loose fitted clothing so their skin can breathe
- Give your baby a bath with cool to lukewarm water
- Keep your baby hydrated and monitor their temperature throughout the day
In Conclusion – Dress To Suit The Weather
Summer for many of us usually means fun in the sun. Pool parties, barbecues, family gatherings on the porch, picnics, and weekends away. Having a baby should never stop you from having a good summer, it just means you have a few extra responsibilities and safety concerns to keep in mind. Keep your baby cooler on hot days and check their skin and behaviors for signs of overheating regularly. Keep your little one hydrated and shaded, and for the love of your baby, do not put socks on them in summer.