How to keep your child safe in the sun

Family

How to keep your child safe in the sun

Simple tips to beat the burn

When the weather heats up we all want to head outdoors and have some fun the sun, right?

But for babies and toddlers with delicate skin, those few hours of summer playtime carry greater risks that need to be managed carefully.

The NHS recommend that kids wear sunscreen between the months of March and October in the UK (and whenever you’re travelling abroad in hotter climates).

Children with fair skin and hair have less melanin, so are more likely to get sunburn or face skin cancer later in life - but that doesn’t mean kids with darker skin shouldn’t follow some basic rules for staying safe.

Our sun care tips for children:

Play in the shade

Try to keep kids in the shade by playing in local parks and gardens where mature trees offer maximum protection.

It’s particularly important for young children to stay out of direct sunlight during 11am - 3pm when UV rays are strongest.

Apply sunscreen regularly

Make sure you cover you child’s entire body with sunscreen that meets these criteria:

  • SPF15 or above
  • At least four stars UVA protection
  • Apply two teaspoons on the face and ears plus two tablespoons all over the body
  • Don’t rub it in too hard, the sunscreen is meant to form a protective barrier
  • Make sure it hasn’t expired! Old sunscreen loses its effectiveness

ALSO: Re-apply sunscreen regularly if your kids are swimming or running around as it comes off easily when they sweat.

Cover up

Sunscreen is really the last line of defence. So put your kids in loose cotton clothing that covers up their little limbs!

Wide brimmed hats and caps that shade their neck are ideal for the beach or when older kids are playing sport.

Wear sunglasses

Children have sensitive eyes, so you should invest in one good pair of sunglasses rather than throwaway fashion styles.

Look out for glasses that meet these standards:

  • British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005)
  • Sunnies that carry the "CE" mark
  • A UV 400 label which means 100 per cent UV protection

ALSO: An adjustable strap is also very useful for keeping them on!

Drink plenty of water

We can all get de-hydrated in the summer sun, so make sure you breast-feed regularly and that older kids are constantly sipping fresh water – not juice or sweet drinks.

If they complain of feeling dizzy or sick, get out of the sum immediately and follow up with your GP.

Use a parasol

If you’re out walking with your bub in a pushchair, attach a sun canopy or umbrella that covers their face at the very least. Check the angle regularly as you move about to ensure it’s offering maximum shade.

What to do if your child gets sunburn

Sunburn can take hours to appear so it’s possible to get caught out. Your child’s skin may look red and become sore but there are some simple first aid remedies to soothe their pain:

  • Apply a cold compress by soaking a cloth in cool water and gently placing it on the sunburnt area for 15 minutes every hour
  • For young babies, a cool or tepid bath will help cool them down quickly and alleviate soreness
  • As the sunburn reduces, apply some aloe vera gel or a vitamin E moisturiser to soothe their skin
  • Increase breastfeeds and cold drinks to replace lost fluids and electrolytes

The NHS ) has some good advice for taking care of kids at all ages.

Have some suncare tips to share? Tell us on Facebook or via Twitter (@CloserOnline).

You might also like to read:

Dr Christian: Six rules of self tanning

Kids diet life hacks: Cartoon meals to make your children eat vegetables

15 fun, free and exciting activities to do with your kids in this heat

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