Looking After Babies and Children in the Sun

Finally it seems like the long cold winter is behind us and summer is on its way. Whether you’re staying in the UK this summer or venturing further afield, it’s important to make sure your baby is safe in the sun.

The main risks to babies during hot weather are sun burn, dehydration, heat illness (which includes heat exhaustion and heat stroke) and later in life skin cancer.

Firstly keep babies in the shade as much as possible. Babies under 6 months of age should not be in direct sun light. Accessories such as buggy shades or parasols are useful and if you’re going to the beach, you can get sun protection factor (SPF) tents. Stay out of the sun in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest (11am – 4pm).

Think about what your baby is wearing, sun hat (broad rimmed is best as it covers the neck too), light clothes, or at the beach a SPF suit is great. Sun glasses too (if you can get them to keep them on.) You want ones with 100% UV protection.

Use sunscreen regularly, children’s sunscreen are normally 50 or above. If you’re going swimming use water proof sunscreen and remember to reapply it regularly.

In order to avoid dehydration, offer your baby drinks frequently. If they’re breastfed, breast milk is great (you’ll probably find that they want more anyway.) If they are bottle fed, they can have some cool boiled water. If they’re a bit older, they can have frozen fruit or fruit juice. Offer them food that is high in liquid content such as fruit and salad (cucumber for example).

Water is a great way to cool down so activities such as swimming, playing in a paddling pool, with a sprinkler, will all help. A cool bath before bed time is a great idea.

Keep their bedrooms cool. During the hot hours of the day, keep the curtains closed to stop the sun from heating it up. If it’s safe, keep the windows open to allow a breeze in. Keep bed clothes to a minimum. If it’s really hot, babies don’t need much more than a nappy at night time.

Remember that cars get really hot, so don’t leave babies sitting in cars. Use the air conditioning or open the windows and try to park in the shade.

As long as you’re sensible, your baby can have a fantastic time in the summer or on holiday. Here’s hoping for a good summer.

By Dr Orlena Kerek snotty-noses.com

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