Swedish researchers have found that a muslin or blanket covering a pram can reduce air circulation and create intense heat, with one doctor warning even a thin cover can increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
This doesn’t surprise me at all. As a mum of two, I would say that 90% of mums I’ve come across use a muslin over their pram to protect from the sun’s rays. I’ve always wondered what sort of temperature is being created under there.
When our first bub was around six months old we were living in Queensland during a particularly intense summer. The heat and humidity were unbearable. I’ll never forget the time I lifted the muslin covering his pram to find him sweating and red. From then on, I never used one in warm weather.
New warning about covering a pram when out in the sun. Image via iStock.
The Daily Mail reported that Svante Norgren, a paediatrician at the Astrid Lindgren children's hospital in Stockholm said covering a pram creates bad air circulation and makes it hard to see the baby.
"It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos," he said, speaking to the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
He explained that if a child were to get too hot, they may think they are back in the womb again and "breathing may stop".
A study carried out by the paper found a covered pram left in the sun became 15 degrees hotter than a pram left uncovered.
SIDS can also be caused by overheating, and avoiding thermal stress has been one of the strategies used to reduce the risk of it.
For our second baby, born nine months ago, we bought a different pram that had a large sun canopy to pull over, leaving a gap for air to get through. This meant good sun protection and no need for a muslin at all. In my eyes, it’s a lot safer (and an added bonus is I don’t have to always remember to pack a muslin - winning!).
For her second baby Siobhan bought a different pram. Image supplied.
The Swedish experts advise that parents should leave their baby’s face uncovered to protect them from overheating, and children should be kept inside during the hottest parts of the day.
I know, many of you are thinking: "Well how do I protect them from the sun then?".
I think, like all things mum life, this is yet another piece of advice to add to your artillery - something to think about and be aware of, but no need for panic.
As always, you're the only one that knows what's right for your baby. Maybe take it with a grain of salt.
Watch: One mother did a photo series of her cute tiny baby against everyday objects.