What Temperature Is OK for a Newborn Outside
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is OK to take a newborn outside when the temperatures are between −15 F and 90 F

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is OK to take a newborn outside when the temperatures are between −15 F and 90 F. Anything beyond this range can be harmful to newborns.

Extremely cold temperatures can cause frostbite and hypothermia, while higher temperatures and overheating increase your baby’s risk of heat exhaustion.

What are signs of frostbite and hypothermia in a newborn?

Extreme cold temperatures cause the skin and layers beneath it to freeze, causing frostbite damage. Signs of frostbite include:

  • Redness (first sign)
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Cold to touch
  • Pale gray or white skin
  • Waxy and denser skin than normal

If frostbite is not addressed immediately, it can cause permanent injury and may lead to amputation in severe cases.

Signs of hypothermia include:

How to protect your newborn from extreme low temperatures

  • Avoid going out: Avoid taking your baby out when temperatures are below −15 F. Check wind speed and wind chill and do not take your baby out for more than 15 minutes when it is cold out.
  • Layer clothing: If you are taking your baby out in the snow, dress them in multiple thin layers to make sure they are warm and dry. You can use other accessories such as hats, waterproof snowsuits and coats, gloves, socks, and booties. If you want to take your baby outside in a stroller, make sure the stroller is insulated. If the stroller is warm, you may need to remove additional covers.
  • Keep your newborn dry: If your baby is wearing damp clothes in temperatures even above 40 F, your baby can suffer from hypothermia. Dress your baby in a waterproof coat and check their diaper every hour to make sure it isn’t wet.
  • Practice car safety: Do not tighten any straps too close to your baby’s body if they are wearing a coat. In a car accident, the coat may compress their body and straps may become loose, causing serious injury. Put the coat on over the strap, or opt for lighter clothes when inside the car.
  • Protect your newborn from the sun: Sunlight that reflects from the snow can be extra harsh on newborn skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend applying sunscreen to a newborn. If you have to take your baby in the snow in broad daylight, keep your baby in the shade whenever possible. If your newborn’s temperature falls below 96 F, call 911 or your pediatrician immediately. Moreover, check if your newborn has developed signs of frostbite, especially on their fingers, toes, nose, and ears.

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How to protect your baby from extreme hot temperatures

  • Pick the right clothes: If you are taking your newborn outside in hot temperatures, dress them in light-colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Use a wide hat to protect their face. Avoid multiple layers of clothing because they may increase the risk of SIDS and overheating during the hotter months.
  • Practice car safety: Since a newborn cannot regulate their own body temperatures as well as older children or adults, it is important to avoid dressing them in too many layers when they are in a car, especially a parked car. Layers can cause the newborn to overheat. Moreover, use a windshield to protect your newborn from harsh sunlight.
  • Choose a good baby carrier: During the summer months, choose a baby carrier that is made of lightweight and light-colored cotton fabric instead of thicker or darker fabric such as denim, as such fabric can prevent your newborn from being able to cool down on hot days.
  • Ensure your newborn is well-hydrated: Flushed, dry skin and rapid heart rate are signs that indicate your baby is dehydrated. You can improve their hydration in hotter weather by breastfeeding or feeding more liquids than you would normally give them.
  • Avoid venturing out in peak hours of sunlight: The sun is the harshest during hours between 10 am and 2 pm. It is better not to take your newborn outdoors during this time of the day during hot weather.
  • Watch your baby closely: If you have to take your baby out on hot days, observe your baby closely to check for signs of overheating:

Signs such as vomiting and fever due to overheating require emergency medical attention.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/2/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Cold Weather Safety for Children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Cold-Weather-Safety.aspx

Tips to Keep Kids Warm All Winter. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Winter-Safety.aspx

Extreme Heat: Keeping Kids Safe When Temperatures Soar. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Protecting-Children-from-Extreme-Heat-Information-for-Parents.aspx