You’ve picked the perfect weekend to go camping with your family. Sunshine and summer weather. Your only concern is that the weather is going to be too hot for your baby. Not only can hot weather make your baby grumpy and sweaty, but babies can easily overheat as well.
Unlike adults, babies can’t regulate their body temperature. This means they can become severely overheated in no time at all.
No need to worry or cancel your camping trip. We’ve got everything you need to know about camping with a baby in hot weather – and how to keep them safe. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy the perfect summer camping trip!
Where You Pitch the Tent
If you have a choice of location for your campsite, choose one that has ample areas of shade. If possible, set the tent up in an area that’s going to get a lot of shade during the day.
Again, if you have a choice, pick a campsite location that’s going to get a breeze, even if it’s just a gentle draft. Set up the tent so the door is facing into the breeze.
Your goal here is to keep the tent cool so it’s comfortable for you and your baby to sleep in. Otherwise you might face some long, sleepless nights.
It can be cooler camping near water, such as a lake, river, or stream. You’ll benefit from any breeze coming off the water. The one disadvantage to camping near water is that it can increase the number of mosquitoes your family and baby will be exposed to.
Type of Tent
If you have a choice of tent, choose a canvas tent over nylon. Nylon tents heat up faster than canvas. Dome tents allow for more circulation.
Look for one where all four sides have mesh. This will help keep the air flowing at night, helping to keep your baby cooler when she’s sleeping.
Daytime Tent Cooling
When it’s still somewhat cool in the morning, keep the door and windows of the tent open so a breeze and cooling air can blow in and through. During the hottest time of the day, close up the tent so that you can keep out hot air.
Then in the afternoon, when the temperature is starting to cool off, open the tent up again. It’s a bit of a juggling act – you’ll need to close the tent back up again before the mosquitoes come out for the night!
Tarping the Tent
You can keep the tent cooler if you string a tarp up over it. String the tarp up between two trees at about head level. It will help provide shade over the tent while still allowing air to flow up, over, and around. And if it rains, it keeps the tent dry!
Best Clothes for Baby
You want to keep things nice and simple when it comes to what clothes you pack along for your camping trip. The key thing to remember is to avoid overdressing your baby in hot weather.
Onesies and Pajamas
If you can keep your baby out of the direct sun, a short-sleeved onesie is ideal. It’s easy to put on and take off. If you’re not going to be able to stay out of the sun, choose loose fitting long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
The fabric should be breathable, such as cotton. Choose light cotton pajamas without feet for sleeping at night.
Sweaters and Hoodies
Nights can cool down considerably when you’re camping outside, so be prepared. Bring along one or two light sweaters, as well as a hoodie.
This way if it should get cold at night, you have more than just light cotton clothes to bundle your baby up in.
You’ll need to protect those little feet from the sun somehow! Bring along a few pairs of light weight socks. They’ll keep off the sun without warming her up too much.
Light Colored Clothes
Dress your baby in light colored clothing. Light colored fabrics reflect the sunlight, whereas dark colors absorb the sun, making her hotter.
Keep as much of your baby’s skin covered as you can. If you’re going to be out in direct sun, dress her in loose clothing that has a tight weave – meaning it’s not see-through.
No Clothing is Okay!
In the middle of the day, when it’s scorching out, it’s perfectly okay to lay your baby down in the shade and take off her clothes and diaper. This is a great way to keep her cool. And babies love the feeling of not wearing a diaper for just a while.
It’s important that you protect your baby from the sun. The sun is strongest from 10 am until about 4 pm. Try to stay in the shade as much as you can during this time. Of course, when you’re camping in the outdoors, this isn’t always possible.
If you’re going to be out in the direct sunlight, there are some precautions you can take so that you little one’s delicate skin doesn’t get sunburned.
Sunscreen is a no-no for babies under the age of 6 months. If your baby is over the age of 6 months, use sunscreen that’s intended for babies. Try to time it so that you’re putting on the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you’re taking baby into the sun.
Carefully apply to all areas of your baby that are exposed to sun. Take extra care when applying to her face, particularly around her eyes. You’ll have to remember to reapply every 2 hours. Or more, if you’re taking her into the water for some cooling off.
It’s best to choose a sunscreen that’s waterproof, even if your baby won’t be getting wet.
Hat for Added Protection
Wide brimmed hats will keep the sun off your baby’s face. Look for those that have a comfortable Velcro strap to keep the hat from falling off – and your baby from tugging it off!
They have some cute sunglasses for babies that provide great protection against UVA and UVB rays. Buy sunglasses before your camping trip and give it a try to see if your baby is willing to keep them on.
You won’t be able to use insect repellent on your baby, so you’ll need to protect her in other ways. One way is to pack along an infant travel bed. They’re made from light-weight mesh and have an insect screen.
These are ideal for camping with your baby – you can lay her down during the day, so she’s protected from insects when she’s napping. And it can double as a bed at night.
Another way to keep the bugs away is to bring along some mesh and net covers. Both protect your baby from insects while still letting the air flow through. Use clips to attach the netting to playpens and strollers.
Feeding and Staying Hydrated
Keeping your baby well hydrated will help her deal with the heat. If you’re breastfeeding, schedule more feeding time into your day so she gets more fluids. Make sure you stay well hydrated as well so your milk supply doesn’t go down.
It’s not recommended to give babies water, as it can fill them up, so they drink less milk. But camping in hot weather is a good reason to deviate from this rule.
Consider offering her water in the bottle to help stay hydrated, particularly during the hottest time of the day.
Sleeping to Stay Cool
In hot weather, the tent can be hot and humid inside no matter what you’ve done during the day to keep it cool. Even in the middle of the night it can be stifling and make it hard for everyone to sleep.
There are some things you can do to make it more comfortable for your baby to sleep.
If you’re co-sleeping with your baby at home, you’ll most likely need to do the same when camping. Getting her to sleep alone in the tent probably isn’t going to go over too well!
Placing a cotton sheet over the sleeping pad, and having another cotton sheet for cover, will be enough on really hot nights. Make sure the sleeping pad is big enough so that you’re not pressed in too closely.
Have a blanket or two nearby so you can easily use it when, and if, the temperature cools down in the early morning hours.
You can set up a playpen for sleeping if your tent is large enough. Look for playpens with mesh sides so the air can easily flow through. A cotton sheet on the bottom, and a light blanket or two on top, is all your baby needs when you’re camping in hot temperatures.
Polyester fleece blankets are a good choice – they’re lightweight and don’t provide too much heat.
When the air in your tent doesn’t circulate, a hot night can be long and uncomfortable for everyone, including your baby. A portable battery-operated fan will help to get some air movement in the tent.
It may not be cool air, but any air circulation will keep your tent from becoming stifling and unbearable.
Extra Tips for Cooling Off
There are some additional things you can do when you’re camping to keep your baby cool, comfortable, and safe.
Buy one or more sun umbrellas for your trip. You can set one up over a playpen or blanket when your baby is playing in the sun.
Holding your baby all the time can make you both hot and sweaty! Taking along a baby stroller lets you get around the campsite without turning up the heat even more.
Many strollers come with an attachable canopy shade. If your stroller model doesn’t have this feature, consider buying a stroller shade extender that fits most models.
Cooling Water Time
Pack along a baby bathtub or small baby-sized pool. Fill with tepid water so it’s cooling but not too cold for your baby. Then strip off her clothes and diaper, and put her into the tub, supervising at all times.
Bring along some favorite bath toys from home. As you keep her cool, your baby will think this is all just part of the fun camping adventure!
When it’s time for baby to nap, set her up outside the tent in the shade. Never let her nap in the tent – it can get severely hot in the tent during the day, even if you’ve set the tent up in the shade.
Bath Before Bed
Before your baby’s last feeding of the day, give her a cooling bath. You’ll not only be washing off sweat and grime after a day outside, but having a bath before bed and the last diaper change is cooling and refreshing.
Wet Face Cloths
In the morning, soak a few face cloths in cold water. Squeeze them out a bit, and then place each in a small plastic bag. Keep them handy for when you need to cool your baby down.
Just wipe her face, the back of her neck, and any other exposed skin. Don’t forget to the top of her head!
As the wetness dries on your baby’s skin, she’ll feel cooler and get some relief from the heat.
Signs of Overheating
Your baby won’t be able to tell you when she’s too hot, so you’ll need to read the signs. A baby that’s overheated will feel warm and clammy and be sweating a lot. Being too hot can make her tired and lethargic.
Use your parental instinct! If you’re too hot, chances are she will be too. If you think your baby is overheated, get her into the shade and take off her clothes. Use cool, not cold, water to sponge her down.
When she feels cooler, breastfeed or give her a bottle so that she gets fluids to rehydrate.
Summer is the perfect time for camping with your family and introducing your baby to the joys of being outside and camping under the stars. Don’t let hot summer days and nights hold you back.
With our information and tips, camping with a baby in hot weather is completely doable when you know what to do to keep her safe!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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