7 Steps to Safer Sunshine
Keeping babies and children safe in the sunshine is a given: we all know that protecting a child’s delicate skin is essential but sometimes we’re given so much advice and guidance that we can all still feel a little bit confused!
Here are our top 7 steps to keeping kids safe in the sun:
Step 1. Keep babies in the complete shade
At home and abroad, babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Plan outdoor trips to avoid peak UV times (usually between 11am and 3pm) and keep babies in the shade. There are some really well designed car shades available – so get something that is breathable and allows windows to open and close. A happy, comfy, cool baby will make travelling much easier for everyone.
Step 2. Cover up in a sun hat and protective clothing
Always wear a hat – a wide brim or legionnaire style works best for children. Start the hat habit young and they are less likely to pull them off! Loose, long sleeved clothing is best. The closer the weave of the fabric, and the darker the colour, the better the protection against UV radiation. If clothes get wet, change in to dry ones when possible: wet clothing stretches and can lose up to half of its UV protection.
Step 3. Apply factor 15+ sunscreen
Liberally apply a SPF15+ sunscreen (or higher) at least 20 minutes before going out (it doesn’t work immediately). Choose a ‘broad spectrum’ suncream that will protect against UVA and UVB. On small babies use it just on exposed bits of skin (such as hands, face, ears). On older children apply generously and re-apply regularly. Use waterproof sunscreen when your toddler is swimming or playing with water, and reapply after towelling. Be warned, recent data suggests that using suncream can create a false sense of security so don’t stay out in the sun all day.
Step 4. Prams and buggies need shade too
Traditional parasols and buggy canopies offer little protection from the sun. An extra layer of protection in the form of a good quality sunshade is essential as is parking in the shade. Always turn your pushchair away from the sun and don’t leave your child unattended or in a stationary pushchair for long periods as they may overheat.
Step 5. Use good quality sunglasses
Toy sunglasses can do more harm than good but that doesn’t mean you need designer shades for little ones. A UV protective pair is ideal and there’s some great wraparound designs for infants. Choose UV goggles if you’re swimming outdoors.
Step 6. Keep them hydrated
It is always important to keep your little ones hydrated but even more so when the weather is hot. Encourage them to drink water regularly throughout the day but remember to check if the drinking water is safe in the country you are travelling to and use bottles or boiled water if needed.
Step 7. Remember they can burn in the UK
Be sun-safe every day: children can easily get burnt by the British summer sun and not just when it’s baking hot. Damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, or UV, can lead to cancer and it isn’t hot, cannot be seen or felt. UV can also get through clouds. Most damage occurs due to over exposure to the sun during normal day to day activities such as playing in the garden and trips to the shops.