The dangers of covering your pram

Our Chief Midwife Jane warns against covering your pusher or pram as you enjoy longer, warmer days and the holiday season!

iStock-498212213_-_square.jpg

Thanks to the brilliant long-term education campaigns by the Anti-Cancer Council, we all know to Slip Slop Slap and to stay out of the sun during the middle hours of the day.

However, many parents don’t realise that in their well-meaning attempts to keep the sun off their babies, they can significantly increase the risk of overheating and suffocation.

It is essential to keep the sun off your little one but covering the pram with a wrap, blanket, or canopy is not the way to do it. Covering a pram or pusher can reduce airflow and dramatically increase the temperature.

Why is this?

  • Research has shown that placing blankets, canopies and even lightweight muslin over the pram increases the temperature within. Think of a parked vehicle and how hot it can get sitting in the sun.
  • Covering the pram reduces air circulation, even with ‘breathable’ material, enabling heat to rise quickly. There are currently no specific regulations for products marketed in Australia for covering prams. Meaning that these types of products don’t need to undergo rigorous testing like cots do, to sell themselves as a solution for sun protection.
  • As tiny humans, babies are far more sensitive to temperature changes than adults. Their little bodies do not sweat as much, so they haven’t got the inbuilt ability to cool down as efficiently.

In fact, an infant’s temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s due to their size.

The ACCC strongly advises parents not to place blankets or adapt other items as covers over a pram to shield babies from the sun.

When out and about with your little one in a pram, regularly look at your bundle of joy.

Assess them for signs of heat stress such as:

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Sweating
  • Listlessness

To help keep baby cool whilst out and about, only take the baby out in the earlier or later parts of the day and avoid going out in the middle of the day, which tends to be the hottest time or time with the highest UV rays

If you have no option, shade your baby in the pram or stroller with an umbrella, sit under a tree, or stay in shaded areas. Never cover your pram.

For more tips on keeping your little ones safe:

To help keep baby cool whilst out and about, only take the baby out in the earlier or later parts of the day and avoid going out in the middle of the day, which tends to be the hottest time or time with the highest UV rays

If you have no option, shade your baby in the pram or stroller with an umbrella, sit under a tree, or stay in shaded areas. Never cover your pram.

For more tips on keeping your little ones safe:

Visit our advice hub