AS THE mercury soars this week, it only seems natural to want to keep hydrated to cool down.
But while we all know how important it is to drink water, experts have warned you should never give it to your baby.
The smallest amount of water can affect the balance of water in their tiny bodies - and specialists say this could prove fatal.
Giving a baby under six months old just a sip of water could overload the kidneys, leading to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia.
Pharmacist Abbas Kanani told Yahoo UK: “Kidneys are also too immature in infants under six months and water can cause intoxication as a result of an imbalance in electrolytes such as sodium.
“This can cause hyponatraemia, which is where too much water has diluted the sodium levels of the body.
“This can cause complications such as swelling of the brain, seizures and, in extreme cases, death.”
Kanani added: “Giving water to an infant can affect the baby’s ability to receive adequate nourishment.
“Their stomachs are so tiny and can fill up easily with water, making it difficult for them to get the nourishment they require.”
Until babies are at least six months old most experts think they should only be given breast milk or formula.
Babies up to the age of six months should get sufficient hydration through exclusive feeding of breast or formula milk and should not need extra water even in hot weatherJenni Dunman
Dr Max Davie, officer for health improvement for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
“If you're breastfeeding your baby, you don't need to give them water as well as breast milk.
“But they may want to breastfeed more than usual.
"Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight as they could become ill during very hot weather.”
How to keep your baby cool in the heat
The heatwave is making sleep a nightmare for most of us - and your baby will be no different.
Christabel Majendie, resident sleep expert at Naturalmat, said: “Ensure all bedding and pyjamas are made from natural fibres and switch to lighter versions.
"Avoid waterproof mattress protectors as these may cause children to sweat.
"If you put a fan in the bedroom, don’t point it directly, at children and nd a lukewarm bath before bed may help them settle into sleep.
"For babies, you can check the room temperature with a digital thermometer and adjust bedding accordingly.
"As a general guide, your baby needs one more layer than what you are sleeping in; if you are sleeping in light clothing and just a sheet, put your baby in the same plus a light, breathable, cotton blanket.
"In temperatures of 23 degrees and above, babies may just need light clothing and a sheet.
"Another good tip is to run a cool bath before bed – this will reduce your child’s body temperature and will settle them in for a snooze.
"If you find that your baby or child is really irritated and struggling to sleep even after some time, then try and place a damp flannel on their forehead for short intervals as this will calm them right down.
"Temperatures can change rapidly so do make sure you check it throughout the night.
"Keep the windows open and partially close the blinds several hours before nap time and bedtime.
"This does help to stop the room from heating up in direct sunlight and also allows air to pass in.
"Also don’t be afraid to disturb your baby’s sleep as their safety is the upmost priority so if you feel that they need to be turned over cooled down then do so.”
Overfeeding can be dangerous
Jenni Dunman, founder of Daisy First Aid, said: "Babies up to the age of six months should get sufficient hydration through exclusive feeding of breast or formula milk and should not need extra water even in hot weather.
"Over feeding water to babies can actually cause serious health problems.
"If you are worries about dehydration or whether your baby is feeding enough, consult your GP or health visitor."
MORE ON BABIES
Katie Zeratsky, a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic, told Alpha XR: "Water intoxication is where you consume too much water in a short period of time and your blood level of sodium drops…making a tragic situation.
"In the adult world, you would have to push yourself past thirst and regulation to a point where you almost have to force intake.
"In terms of a baby, in most cases they would get too full to do this, so it would be more challenging to create this situation in an infant. It’s not impossible, though."