Baby carrying just make a parent’s life easier. So much easier that sometimes you may even forget how long you have been baby wearing! Ok, that’s an exaggeration but you get the point. The reality is that many times parents don’t know if it’s always safe to baby-wear, especially under different weather conditions.
Since your baby is always kept so close to your body while babywearing, one of the first things that crosses a parent’s mind on a hot day is whether or not their baby will overheat while in the carrier. You can feel the heat coming from the baby, but is it possible for a baby to overheat in a carrier?
In this post we will break down the overheating questions and also look at the best carriers for warmer weather.
Let’s start by introducing the different types of baby carrier and how hot temperatures plays a role with each of them. There are five different types of baby carriers: the wrap, sling, soft-structured carrier/ buckle carrier Mei Tai and backpack carriers; and they are all very different when it comes to keeping baby cool.
A wrap is basically just a long stretch of fabric that you tie around yourself and your baby. You can carry your baby on your back, in the front or on your hip. There is a new style of wrap that goes over the baby three times.
This is very safe for the baby, but can become hot for both you and your baby depending on the weather. How hot it gets really depends on the material of the wrap and how much airflow you can get through it. Thinner material is always better especially when half of your baby’s body is covered by the wrap and the other half pushed against your body.
Slings are also basically a long stretch of fabric, but with a sling there are two rings at the one end through which you thread the other end of the fabric. Slings are popular baby carriers with many parents. A sling goes over your one shoulder and you carry your child on the opposite hip.
In this case, there is only one layer of fabric across one shoulder, so this type of baby carrier can generally be cooler than a wrap. No only is a sling usually more breathable, but you can also easily adjust how tight or loose your baby hangs in the material. If you start to feel a bit hot, simply loosen the sling slightly and give baby some room to breathe.
Soft-structured carriers are constructed from fabric straps and some pads in such a way that there is a little “structured” seat for the baby. A strap is attached to each corner of the seat: two padded shoulder straps and two buckled straps that go around the wearer’s waist.
With these carriers, you can carry your child in front or at the back and even on your hip. This kind of carrier offers secure support for infants and toddlers and many ways to control the temperature. Not only are your baby’s arms and legs exposed to the air, but you can also create some space between you and baby as needed to add some much needed air flow.
The Mei Tai is a popular carrier that originates from East-Asia. It consists of a square of fabric for the baby’s body. Four wide straps are attached to the four corners – two shoulder straps and two to go around the waist of the wearer. The shoulder straps are tied in a cross over the back and then around the wearer’s body. You don’t have to struggle with any buckles, you just need to tie the straps securely.
Given the simplicity of the Mei Tai carrier it can also work well for those hotter days. With only one layer of material and exposed arms and legs, the Mei Tai carrier can keep baby pretty comfortable on the hot days.
Backpack carriers look just like backpacks you use for hiking, except they are made to carry a child.
Backpack carriers have a more solid structure than other baby carriers. They have a rigid metal or plastic frame to which the fabric seat is attached. Backpack carriers have padded shoulder straps for wearer comfort as well as straps that are tied around the wearer’s waist. The shoulder straps combined with waist straps help with even weight distribution.
Backpack carriers are designed for longer trips like hiking in the mountains or a city hike. They are meant for toddlers and babies who can sit without any support and who have proper neck and head control.
They are also usually fairly open which allows for lots of airflow. Many models come with a canopy to keep baby out of the sun so backpack carriers can be a great option for staying cool while carrying your toddler.
Signs That Your Baby Is Overheating in His Carrier
Infants younger than six months can’t regulate their own body temperature efficiently. This means that they can feel very cold or very hot even when the temperature is not very cold or very hot.
Long before you feel the heat, your baby may be uncomfortably hot.
Being out in hot weather is not good for a small baby and if you add to that the heat generated by a baby carrier and the body heat of the parent, it can pose a real threat to a newborn baby.
Signs of overheating in an infant:
- A hot tummy
- Flushed or red cheeks
- Skin is clammy to the touch
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
If you’re getting hot, it’s likely that your baby is too. Keep a close eye on your young baby if carrying him in hot weather and check for any early signs of overheating.
What to Do If Your Baby Show Signs of Overheating
To prevent overheating make sure you keep your baby hydrated by offering him enough to drink. Water is the best choice for babies who are old enough to drink water – sweetened drinks tend to lead to more thirst.
If your baby looks hot and bothered, take him out of the baby carrier. This simple action will significantly reduce the heat.
Find a cool, shady place to rest. Remove some clothing if your baby is wearing more than one layer. Sponge your baby down with a cloth dipped in cool, not cold water. Keep on offering liquids.
If you have a portable fan, bring one. It can be a life-saver in hot and sticky situations.
Best Carriers to Avoid Overheating
In every style of carrier there is one or two that will be cooler to wear. If you are unsure which style to choose, you can check out our detailed guide of the different types of baby carriers.
Whatever style of baby carrier you are used to, a wrap, sling, soft-structured carrier, Mei Tai or backpack carrier, there is a cooler option available for you.
If you are new to baby carriers and live in a hot climate, you might want to consider this aspect when you buy your first baby carrier.
Best wrap for hot weather
Woven wraps are the best. They are usually woven from cotton or linen, both of which are cool and breathable. Stretchy wraps are comfortable and cozy but can also become hot.
You can choose to simply wrap a single layer of material around you and your baby which can be cooler than wraps that tie multiple times around you and your baby. This will take practice though because you also need to make sure that your baby is secure.
The Boba wrap is thin, breathable and in our opinion the perfect wrap for hot days.
Best Slings for Hot Weather
Ring slings are a good choice for summer days. They are by nature cooler than other baby carriers as just one layer of fabric goes over the baby and you. The sling crosses across one side of your body leaving your one shoulder complete free of fabric.
The Nalakai ring sling is super light and very easy to adjust. Perfect for quickly putting baby in or out
Best Soft-structured Baby Carrier for Hot Weather
If you are looking for a structured-carrier that will be cool in hot weather, don’t go for a bulky product that uses thick fabric. Go for something that uses mesh for the main panel. There are several products like this on the market
Baby Tula makes a line of breathable mesh baby carriers called Tula Coast Carriers. These ventilated carriers were designed with active lifestyles and warmer environments in mind. They come with a high-quality mesh center panel to allow for ventilation and a detachable mesh hood for protection against the sun.
Tula carriers all have an ergonomic seat that lets your baby sit comfortably in the M-position, for healthy development.
Ergobaby makes a range of cool air mesh carriers. These breathable carriers are made with soft mesh fabric that allows for airflow to keep you and your baby cool. They carry from newborn to toddler safely and provide lumbar support for the wearer.
Best Mei Tai for hot weather
Carrying a baby in a Mei Tai has been a tradition in some Asian countries for centuries where the weather is hot and humid in summer. The traditional Mei Tai is a simple design consisting of a square of fabric to which straps are attached at the four corners. This makes for a relatively cool design that is comfortable for parents and their children.
The Infantino Go Forward is not a classic Mei Tai carrier but it has many of the same characteristics. This carrier is slightly more “structured” than a standard Mei Tai which allows you to control how tight or loose you baby is in the carrier which helps a ton on hot days.
Best Backpack Carrier for hot weather
I have to be honest with you – backpack carriers are bulky, heavy and not ideal for the parent carrying a baby if it’s a really hot day. The baby however can be perfectly fine if you choose the right model.
The one benefit that these products have over other baby carriers is the fact that the baby sits in his own seat and is not wrapped around your body, which can generate a lot of body heat. On the other hand, you have to be aware that your baby is fully exposed to the elements and most importantly the sun. That’s why we always suggest a backpack carrier with a canopy.
This backpack carrier is not fully enclosed and provides ample airflow for baby. On top of that, it has a retractable canopy to keep your child out of the hot sun during long walks or hikes.
The five different styles of baby carriers all have their individual pros and cons when it comes to keeping baby cool. They all have iterations designed for warmer weather.
Keeping in mind that you and your baby will probably feel the heat on really hot days, especially if you are out for a while, there are baby carriers that will help you to feel the heat a bit less.
Whatever style you decide on, look out for baby carriers that use breathable fabrics like cotton and linen and lightweight mesh. Also, avoid carriers that are heavily padded. What they gain in comfort they will lose in generating heat on a hot summer day.