Do I need a parasol for pram use in summer?
Parasols are handy accessories for pushchairs when sitting outside in hot weather, but are they essential? It can be tricky to know which pram accessories are must-haves and which are optional. In this guide we're going to take a look at the pros and cons of covering pushchairs in hot weather, and answer the common question parents ask - do I need a parasol for pram use in summer?

What is a pushchair parasol?

Pushchair parasols are small umbrellas designed to be clipped onto the frame of a pram to provide shade or light rain protection for babies. The traditional variety of pushchair parasol is made from pretty, lightweight, and non-waterproof fabric such as broderie anglaise. These don't provide any rain protection and instead are designed primarily to provide shade when the baby is in direct sunlight. Some modern pushchair parasols are constructed from synthetic waterproof materials which provide SPF protection and shelter from light rain. They're handy for showery summer days because they help to keep your little one dry should you get caught in the rain. Plus, their waterproof, wipeable nature makes them easy to keep clean.

What is the point of a pushchair parasol?

Most people use parasols when setting pushchairs outside for baby to take an al fresco nap. They allow you to sit in the garden or in the park without worrying about baby getting sunburned or overheated, because the parasol protects sensitive skin from sunburn and keeps them reasonably cool. Some people also use a parasol when taking their baby out for a stroll when it is very sunny outside. It can be dangerous to take young babies out in the middle of the day in the height of summer due to the risk of sunburn and overheating. However, a parasol could provide adequate protection for short walks.

Are there any problems with using parasols on pushchairs?

Parasols are useful when a pram is stationary because they can easily be manoeuvred into a position that adequately blocks the sun. When used during a walk, the changing position of the sun can make it difficult to maintain shade directly over the baby. The parasol must be adjusted frequently to provide consistent protection, which can simply make them inconvenient. When it comes to waterproof parasols, they're useful for sudden, unexpected showers to keep baby dry until you can get inside. However, parasols usually don't provide enough protection for long periods out in the rain, particularly if it's windy too. For thorough rain protection in bad weather it is better to use a pushchair raincover.

Do I need a parasol for pram use in summer?

The question remains, do I need a parasol for pram use in hot weather? If you plan on setting baby outside in their pushchair in warm weather on a frequent basis, yes, a parasol is a great investment. Babies tend to drift off to sleep when outdoors in the fresh air, so if you plan to do this often in your garden you'll get plenty of use out of your parasol. Just be sure to keep an eye on the position of the sun to ensure baby remains in the shade, and check their temperature often to make sure they don't get too hot. A benefit of using a parasol on a pushchair is that it can help to shield baby from all of the goings-on around them which might make them restless or keep them awake. This is handy for busy environments like parks, or even just out in the garden if the rest of the family is milling around. If you spend lots of time outdoors and want to keep baby with you as much as possible, a parasol is a really useful accessory. However, if your garden is already mostly in shade and you can easily position the pram out of direct sunlight, a parasol may not be necessary.

Could I use a blanket instead of a parasol?

Some people opt to use blankets to shield babies from direct sunshine when sitting in a pram in the summer. However, the Lullaby Trust advises against doing this as it inhibits airflow and can lead to baby getting too hot. Overheating increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and even very lightweight blankets like muslins could pose this risk. Parasols are far safer because they allow cool air to flow over the little one so that they don't get too hot. Bear in mind that not all parasols offer SPF protection. Even if your baby is in the shade they could still be exposed to harmful UV rays unless they have some form of SPF protection, such as one of our Universal Waterproof Baby Parasols which provide SPF 50 protection. If using a Broderie Anglaise Parasol, you should make sure your baby is wearing a suitable sunscreen to protect them against painful sunburn.

Additional sun safety tips

Whenever your baby or toddler is going out in hot weather, make sure they have plenty of fluids available. For babies which are exclusively breastfeeding, they don't need any additional water until they begin eating solid foods. However, they may want to feed more often in hot weather because they're thirsty, and you could give them a small amount of boiled and cooled water in addition to their usual feeds. No matter whether you're settling baby in a naturally shaded spot or you're using a parasol to provide them with shade, always check their temperature regularly. You can do this simply by touching the back of the neck or their tummy. If the skin feels hot to touch or damp with sweat, they are probably too hot. Remove layers of clothing if possible or move them indoors where it is cooler. Check out our range of parasols for pushchairs now to keep your little one safe outdoors when the sunshine comes around.
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