5 Sun Safety Tips for Children and Babies
Well what a glorious spat of weather we’re enjoying here in the UK at the moment! The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and we daren’t mention usual British summertime weather trends in case the skies turn grey once more.
But for little people who don’t (yet) understand the joys of relaxing on a sun lounger, al fresco dining or sunset cocktails, it’s likely that they are feeling hot, sticky and just a little bit grumpy.
With the arrival of the sunshine of course comes the need for sun protection. From sun hats to rash vests, sunglasses to parasols, children should be protected from the harmful rays of the sun as much as possible and never allowed to play out in direct sunshine between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
With climate change making you and your family more at risk of burning, skin damage and skin cancer, sun protection for children has never been more important.
Here at My Name Label we aim to be a resource of helpfulness for busy parents, so we hope this guide of sun safety tips for children proves useful to you!
How to Ensure Your Little Ones are Safe in the Sun
Children and babies can quickly overheat in the sun due to the fact that their bodies can’t sweat or regulate temperatures as effectively as that of an adult. Also, small infants possess low levels of melanin (the pigment which gives us some natural protection) meaning that they are easily susceptible to the sun’s damaging effects. Use the following methods to ensure your children are safe in the sun:
1) Apply Sun Cream
Babies under 6 months old shouldn’t go in the sun and shouldn’t use sun cream as their skin is too sensitive. Children’s skin is more delicate than that of an adult and so when considering which sun creams to use for children one must carefully consider several things; UV protection, SPF protection and level of water resistance. British summertime is renowned for its unpredictability, but thin cloud cover is perhaps most dangerous as it disguises the powerful sun rays which can cause your child to burn and damage their skin. Don’t forget to apply sun cream in unlikely places such as tops of hands, backs of legs and tops of ears- these places often get missed but can easily burn. (And of course when packing them off to nursery/school be sure to label their sun cream with small name labels to ensure expensive bottles of sun cream remain with whom they belong!)
2) Choose Clothing Carefully
Long-sleeved, unbleached cotton clothing is cool and comfortable for children and adults alike, while also highly protective. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) listing on the label offers extra security, especially for beach days or days spent by the pool. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher. As well as daytime, you will also need to consider how to dress your child at bedtime. If bedrooms are very hot (over 25 degrees) it will lead to a fragmented sleep for your little one (and in turn for you too!) if they’re not dressed in cool cotton short-sleeved pyjamas/nightdresses. It can also be incredibly dangerous for babies to become too hot so always check on them and make sure they aren’t red/sweating/rapid breathing. If they can be trusted not to pull them off (!) then just a nappy is plenty enough clothing for little ones when the weather is hot. Avoid waterproof sheets/mattress covers as these can retain heat and make the bed too hot and sticky. Sleeping bags and duvets should be the lowest tog if used at all- just using the thin cotton bed cover with no duvet inside is a good idea if little ones like to feel cosy but you don’t want them to overheat.
3) Lead by Example
If you’re fighting to get your kids covered with cream or to wear a hat this year don’t give up - you know what’s best for them and you know how dangerous the sun can be so find whatever works and be sure that you cover them up the best you can. If you practice exemplary sun safety habits your kids will pick it up too. It should become just as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth or getting dressed- slap on your sunscreen before you finish your makeup, and you’ll get as used to it as your kids will.
4) Stay Hydrated!
This is a good rule for everyone to follow, not just children and babies. If little ones are playing out in the sun they will require lots more fluids than usual and can become really poorly if they become dehydrated. Sunstroke is no laughing matter, so hydration and shade is key when the weather is hot. If children refuse to drink water (which is the best for hydration), then try putting a little drop of cordial in the water. This works better than juice which can be way higher in sugar than you realise… a few frozen strawberries floating in the water make an interesting way of cooling down drinks and are yummy to eat afterwards too. Don’t forget to use our stick on name labels for making sure your child’s drinks bottle returns with them at the end of the school day too. For little ones struggling to stay hydrated enough, use ‘make-your-own’ lollies with a weak squash mixture
5) Ventilation is Paramount
If your house is hot then make sure you open all of the windows possible (whilst remaining safe and not letting little ones near windowsills) to get air flowing and hopefully generating a breeze to cool you all down. Having a fan in your living areas, especially in the bedroom at night, is a great way of keeping air circulating and keeping things cool. Top tip! Place a bowl of ice in front of the fan (ensuring it is far away from any electric source) and let the fan propel icy cold air into your room...blissful. When you’re driving remember that the temperature in cars can escalate very quickly so open all windows or use the aircon. Never leave a baby/child asleep in the car when it’s hot- car seats can get extremely hot very quickly so it’s important to move them to a safer environment whilst the weather is hot.
So there we have it, our sun safety tips to help keep your little ones more hydrated and cool this summer. Do you have any tips which you’d like to share with our community? Please do get in touch with us over on Facebook and Instagram to let us know! And don’t forget to stock up for your back-to-school name labels early this year – you’ll feel much more organised and enjoy the summer more as a result, we promise 😊