Children's safety is constantly on the minds of parents. But in the quest to provide a safe environment for children, instincts can sometimes conflict with scientific evidence and cause risky practices to become mainstream.
In particular, it is almost intuitive for many parents to cover their infants and toddlers with a blanket or towel to protect from the glare of the sun as well as from the beams on the side of a stroller on a hot day, according to Little Things. But this practice could actually lead to the baby becoming uncomfortable, potentially even raising the child's risk of death.
According to pediatrician Svante Norgren at the Astrid Lindgren children's hospital in Stockholm, even a thin covering over an infant in a stroller can dramatically raise the temperature and put the child at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Researchers in Sweden say a muslin cloth or blanket covering an infant's stroller or buggy can create an intense heat as well as reduce air circulation. This is the result of a study that found that a covered stroller left out in the sun became 15 degrees hotter than an uncovered one.
"It gets extremely hot down in the [stroller], something like a thermo," Norgren told a Swedish newspaper. "There is also bad circulation of the air and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the [stroller]."
Norgren noted that if a child were to get too hot under these conditions, the child may believe he or she is back in the womb again and "breathing might stop."
Avoiding excessive heat has been one of the strategies used to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Because of this, it was recommended parents leave their children's face uncovered while in a stroller and to keep children inside for the hottest part of the day during summer, roughly 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.