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article imageInfants in strollers at risk through sun cover

By Anne Sewell     Jul 14, 2014 in Health
Stockholm - There has been a lot of talk recently about children and dogs dying after being left locked in hot cars. Now a pediatrician in Sweden is pointing out that it is equally dangerous to use a blanket to block sun from entering a baby's stroller.
Summer is here in the northern hemisphere and with it several countries, particularly in Europe, are experiencing heatwaves. However the doctor's warning applies to every country during the summer months.
When it is hot, it is a common sight to see a parent pushing a stroller, with a thin blanket or towel draped over it to protect the child from the sun.
According to Svante Norgren, a pediatrician at the Astrid Lindgren children's hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, this is a dangerous practice that should be dropped immediately.
"It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos. There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram," Norgren told the local Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
The newspaper decided to run an experiment to find out just how hot it could get inside the stroller. They left a stroller out in the sun (without baby, naturally) between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on a hot day, initially without a covering blanket. The temperature inside the stroller reached 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit).
A thin blanket was then placed over the stroller for the following 30 minutes, after which the temperature soared to 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit). After an hour, the temperature was up to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Norgren explained that, instead of protecting a child from the heat, parents are, in fact, endangering their baby with this practice. Norgen added that the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is dramatically increased when a young child is exposed to such intense heat.
"It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child... if a child gets too hot then the child may think that it is back in the womb, which is why breathing may stop," said Norgren.
Norgren went on to explain that instead of using the practice of covering the stroller with a thin towel or blanket, parents should rather head for a bit of shade. If it gets really hot, rather stay indoors.
According to Norgren, if a child should show signs of overheating, first of all the baby should immediately be taken to the cooler shade. The parent should dab the baby with paper towels and ensure the child drinks slowly and carefully to rehydrate. If the child cannot drink properly or appears to be in distress, it is essential to seek immediate medical advice.
Swedish sources:
SvD Nyheter
The Local
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