SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The bright sun, warm air and sound of air conditioners running, the signs that summer is here; but, with the heat comes a potential risk for sudden infant death syndrome. The American Academy of Pediatrics said it's the unexpected death of a baby for unknown reasons and it's still the leading cause of death for babies up to a year old.
Sirena Sigears is a labor delivery nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. She said if a baby wears too many layers during the summer, it can increase the risk for SIDS.
"The biggest concern is overheating these newborns," said Sigears. "It can be very hard for these newborns to tolerate that... and put them at the point where they will pass because they're in heat exhaustion."
But Sigears said a few simple tips can help parents avoid a tragedy.
"We dress our baby in the summer one layer heavier than what we are wearing, up until about 75 degrees," said Sigears.
So, if you're in a t-shirt and jeans, Sigears said your baby should be comfortable in a onesie with their outfit or a light blanket on top. Once the temp reaches 75 degrees or higher...
"Then they should be in the same dress as we are," said Sigears.
If you're comfortable in shorts and a tank top, Sigears said your baby should be comfy in just a onesie; but, how can you tell if your baby is too hot?
"Check the moisture around the neck and under the chin. Babies do naturally sweat in that area and that is the area that if they are constantly moist and overheated you will feel it warm damp," said Sigears.
Keeping your baby hydrated is critical. Sigears said if your child doesn't want to eat for eight hours or has a hard time getting comfortable, then it's time to get your little one in a cooler environment.
"You don't want to put them directly in front of the fan or window air or clean vent, but you want to get them moved into a cooler environment," said Sigears.
Sigears says to trust your instincts and pay attention to what your baby is trying to tell you.
If you need a place to take your baby to cool off, Operation Heat Relief will kick in at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City when temperatures consistently stay above 90 degrees. It's a program that helps Siouxlanders stay cool during the summer months. It's free of charge and ice water is provided.
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