Summer Safety Tips for Babies

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors with your little one. However, the heat and sun pose some risks to kiddos. 

It is important to be mindful of these risks as you head out with your little one. Babies are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, sunburn, and insect bites. Because of this, they require extra care and attention to stay safe. 

In this guide, we’ll talk about some of the most essential summer safety tips to help you protect your baby. They will ensure you enjoy a happy and healthy summer season. Here is everything you need to know to keep your baby safe and sound all summer. 

Sun Protection

Babies under 6 months old should avoid direct sunlight completely. Their skin is extremely sensitive to burns. Always shade them under trees, umbrellas, or the stroller canopy.

When it comes to sunscreen for babies, use products with SPF 30 or higher. Apply it generously 15-30 minutes before going out. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Also reapply after baby swims or sweats. Find out more about this in our sunscreen safety for kids guide

Choose sunscreens made for babies and kids. Adult sunscreens may irritate delicate skin. Cover up with lightweight clothing, hats and sunglasses when possible. Never leave baby unattended in direct sunlight.

Avoiding Overheating

Overheating is very risky for babies. Their bodies can't regulate temperature like adults. Never leave a baby in a hot car – not even for a few minutes. The temperature rises quickly and can be deadly.

When outside, seek full shade. Plan around the hottest part of the day between 10am and 4pm. Give babies frequent cool drinks. Watch for dehydration signs like fewer wet diapers. We talk more about exactly how to do this in our guide to fun summer activities for kids

Dress babies in light clothing. Use fans, air conditioning and cool mist humidifiers to stay comfortable. If baby's chest or head feels hot, remove layers and cool them off right away.

Signs of heat illness include:

  • Fussiness
  • Redness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
A cute happy young female girl child baby relaxing on the side of a swimming pool

Water Safety

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental infant deaths. Constant adult supervision is crucial around any water – pools, lakes, bathtubs and even buckets.

For water activities, use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for babies. Empty all standing water in play areas like kiddie pools after use. Install fences around pools and hot tubs to restrict access.

When babies are near water, keep them within arm's reach at all times. Avoid any distractions that could pull your attention away. Learn infant CPR in case of an emergency. Learn more about this in our episode on keeping your baby safe in the water

Insect Safety

Use EPA-approved insect repellents made for babies over 2 months old. Avoid hands, eyes, mouth and any cuts or scrapes when applying. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on babies.

Cover strollers and cribs with mosquito netting. Eliminate any standing water around the home where mosquitoes breed. Check baby carefully for any insect bites or stings.

Playground Safety

Hot surfaces like metal, concrete, sand and even synthetic ground coverings can quickly burn baby's sensitive skin. Always check the temperature before letting baby touch a surface. Use a thick towel or blanket as a barrier if needed.

Keep babies in full shade when using playgrounds or out for walks. Watch for overheating signs like redness, excessive fussiness or lethargy. Allow frequent breaks to cool down in air conditioning. Don't overdress babies – use lightweight fabrics.

Make sure strollers and baby carriers have good air flow to allow ventilation.

Food Safety

Bacteria multiply rapidly in hot summer temperatures. Take precautions with breastmilk, formula and baby foods:

  • Don't leave bottles or pre-made formula out for over 1-2 hours in the heat.
  • Discard any unfinished bottles or opened jars left sitting out too long.
  • Don't store milk or perishable baby foods in a hot car.
  • Use insulated cooler bags with ice packs for transporting bottles/food.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before making bottles or feeding.
  • Clean all equipment that touches formula or food meticulously.

Car Safety

Never leave babies unattended in a vehicle, even for a few minutes. Cars can heat up to deadly temperatures very quickly. Check that the back seat isn't too hot before strapping baby in. Use sunshades on windows and don't let baby get direct sunlight when rear-facing. Dress babies lightly and make sure they don't get overwrapped in thick blankets. Stop frequently to allow baby to get fresh air circulation if it's very hot.

Travel Safety

If traveling with baby this summer, take extra precautions. For air travel, use a window shade and have baby drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. For road trips, never leave baby alone in the car and stop every 2-3 hours to feed, change diapers, and let baby stretch out of the car seat. Bring a large lightweight blanket for tummy time or letting baby crawl around during breaks.

Sleep Safety

Babies can easily become overheated from too many blankets or sleeping in hot rooms. Use a fan to circulate air and avoid letting direct sunlight come in through windows. Dress baby in lightweight clothing for sleep, and don't overdress. Signs of overheating include sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, and rapid breathing.

Allergies & Illness

The summer months can trigger allergies or illnesses like cold/flu viruses in some babies. Watch for symptoms like coughing, nasal congestion, rashes, diarrhea or vomiting. Seek shade if taking babies with allergies outside. Use cool mist humidifiers and stay hydrated if baby has a summer cold. Call the pediatrician right away for fevers, severe symptoms or if you have any concerns.


Baby's feet can easily get burned on hot surfaces like concrete, sand or metal. Never let babies go barefoot outdoors in the summer heat. Use socks or soft shoes/sandals to protect their sensitive soles. Check that any surfaces you let them crawl or walk on aren't too hot before letting them explore.

Staying Active

Don't let the summer heat keep your baby cooped up indoors. Look for indoor play areas like malls or community centers to let babies crawl and move around in air conditioning. Sign up for parent-child swim classes to keep babies active while also staying cool in the pool. Go for walks during cooler morning or evening hours, using stroller fans if needed. You can also choose to go the DIY way. We have a whole list of ideas in our guide to DIY sensory play for babies and toddlers

Final Thoughts

When you cover all these essential safety bases, you and your little one will be able to enjoy a healthy and comfortable summertime. By being sun smart, hydrated, and aware of hot hazards, your kiddo will be protected from any seasonal risks. 

As always, be sure to reach out to your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions. Good luck!