Can Wind Take Baby Breath Away?

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

If your grandmother warned you to shield your baby from the wind to prevent them from losing their breath, you’re not alone. My own grandmother was fixated on bundling up my little ones whenever there was a breeze.

However, it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to understanding what a windy day can and can’t cause.

Can wind take a baby’s breath away? Wind does not literally steal a child’s breath, but wind in the face can cause the mammalian diving reflex. It makes your baby hold their breath for a second before gulping in air. Your child will likely look startled when wind hits them in the face, and you will see this reflex in action.

Since the wind can pose risks for your baby, it’s important to know how to responsibly take your child outdoors when the weather isn’t great.

Babies and Windy Days – What To Know

Babies tend to have strong feelings about being out in windy weather. It can cause a variety of issues for them.

Do Windy Days Affect Babies?

Windy days can affect babies, especially if your child is less than six months old. Wind in the face will cause your child to look like they aren’t breathing for a second, and it startles them.

Wind can also cause a baby’s body temperature to drop faster than usual, and that can be a problem when children are very young.

What Is Too Windy for Baby?

When the weather is extremely windy, it’s wise to keep your little one indoors. On mildly windy days, making sure your child is wearing a hat and is covered in their stroller may be enough to keep the wind from affecting them.

However, if it’s windy enough to be uncomfortable for you, it’s definitely too windy for your baby.

Possible Negative Effects of Wind on Babies

Windy weather can make your baby uncomfortable in the moment, and it also may cause problems that leave your child uncomfortable even once they are indoors.

Dry skin is a side effect of too much wind, and your child can even get windburn. Similar to sunburn, windburn is when the skin becomes inflamed by prolonged exposure to windy elements. The skin will become red, may have a stinging sensation, and could even peel. 

Flying debris, like dirt, can get in your child’s eyes if the wind is high. Wind also usually means a drop in temperature, so your child may be cold.

Very young children have trouble staying warm anyway, so don’t take them outside in cold, windy weather unless they are adequately dressed and the wind is fairly low.

Bradycardic Response in Babies

The bradycardic response is a physiological response in infants when they slow their breathing, and in turn, their heart rate slows down.

You see the bradycardic response when you blow in a baby’s face. He will open his eyes wide and hold his breath. Your child will also do this if he is dropped in water or hit in the face by a gust of wind.

Why Do Babies Hate Wind?

Babies are startled by wind, and they have a reflex that keeps them from continuing to inhale right after being assaulted by a big blast of air. They can’t put their heads down to avoid the gusts yet, so they are at the mercy of windy weather.

Can You Drive With Windows Down With Baby?

It’s not the best idea to drive with the windows down when you have a baby in the car. The constant wind to the face can be uncomfortable for your child, and it’s always possible for flying debris to get in your child’s eyes while you drive.

Tips for Protecting Baby on Windy Days

If you live in a windy area, that doesn’t mean you have to be completely housebound. Just make sure to dress your child for the weather when you do have to go outside.

Hats are always a good idea when it’s cold because they help trap heat and keep your baby warm. If you have a stroller, check to see if there is a way for you to pull part of it over your baby’s face so the wind won’t hit him.

Some parents also loosely put blankets on top of the stroller when the wind gets bad.

Blowing in Baby’s Face

You may have noticed that if you blow in your child’s face, you will see the bradycardic response in action. Some parents use this technique to interrupt their child’s crying.

The child is so startled by the blast of air to the face that they sometimes forget to start crying again.

Even if this is an effective technique, it’s not particularly enjoyable for your baby.

Is a Breeze Bad for Babies?

A gentle breeze isn’t a problem for most babies. Dry skin, dropping temperatures, and other risks occur when the wind is high and gusty.

You don’t have to stress about every little breeze. Just pay attention to your child to make sure they are comfortable.

Are Fans Bad for Babies?

Fans aren’t bad for babies as long as you don’t have one directly on them while they rest. Having a fan in a child’s room can help keep them cool and circulate stagnant air.

Why Does a Fan Reduce SIDS?

A fan reduces the risk of SIDS because it keeps your child’s room cool. Overheating puts your child at a higher risk for SIDS.

Fans also move air, and this is good for your child. It keeps them from taking in air that was exhaled by other people or that is trapped in their bed. This also reduces the risk of SIDS.

Related Questions: 

Does Wind Cause Colic in Babies?

No, wind does not cause colic in babies. Though many people think that babies who cry excessively and have colic swallow too much air during feedings or other activities, there’s no evidence to support this.

Simply being in windy weather will not cause a baby to experience colic.

Does Wind Cause Ear Infections?

No, wind will not cause your child to have an ear infection. Bacteria is what causes ear infections, and the infection occurs behind the eardrum.

Even if your child is outside on a windy day, a strong wind can’t get behind the eardrum. However, high winds can cause hearing loss if the noise is prolonged, such as having a window open on the highway. 

Key Takeaways

Take proper precautions if you decide to take your child out on a windy day, but don’t be afraid to use a fan in your child’s room.