Tips to stay safe in the heat of the sun
When you have children, it is really important to never go anywhere in the summer, home or abroad, without thinking about sun protection. Keep yourself and your children safe by taking the right precautions so you can truly make the most of the beautiful weather
Babies under 6 months should really be kept out of direct sunlight, meaning they shouldn't need suncream, but you will need to make sure you have plenty of shade for them and possibly even look at clothing which has UV protection built in to be extra safe.
For children older than this, THE essential has to be appropriate sunscreen. Remember to check you are choosing one with a high UVA rating and not just factor.
Children’s sun cream is available in the shops along with sun cream for those with sensitive skin. When buying sun cream why not look at the range of cream available in bright colours. This helps ensure that all the skin is covered and it can also be good fun for your kids. Remember to re-apply frequently throughout the day to keep protected.
Do bear in mind that while you may see people covering their prams with a muslin cloth, one study has suggested that it can be dangerous to cover your baby in a buggy in this way. What can happen is that the cloth (or similar) traps the warmth, meaning the temperature in the buggy raises to dangerously high levels (with no ventilation for it to escape) putting baby at risk from over-heating.
So what are your options?
A pram parasol can help keep your baby out of the heat of direct sunlight.
Another idea would be for you to change to a more breathable pushchair (as pictured) which have panels which open and allows the air to circulate more freely around the child so that his/her body temperature will regulate with ease. Some pushchairs even come with UVA protection too, meaning you know your baby/child is as safe as can be.
Or you can purchase a sun canopy, which can fit to your buggy and creates a large shaded area, meaning your baby is protected. Again, some of these offer UVA protection too so check them out carefully before buying.
Clothes and hats
Wear a hat! We would advise you to pick one with a wide rim and for those cool kids you can buy a hat with a flap at the back to keep the sun from burning the back of the neck.
For kids who enjoy playing out in the sun it could be worth purchasing some UV protective clothing so that they aren’t hit by the harmful rays.
Babies who are being transported around in prams with a shade shouldn’t need a hat because it is natural for us to lose most of our heat through our head it would be beneficial for your baby to be hat-less. Should you decide to ditch the pram for a picnic it would be useful to have a just-in-case hat prepared.
When putting your baby to sleep consider whether they could get too hot. Perhaps just let them to sleep in just a nappy or exchange what he/she would usually wear for lighter clothing.
Heat in the home
Keeping the windows closed at the curtains and blinds shut in the daytime will keep your house cool. It is better to open the windows in the early mornings and late evenings when temperatures have dropped.
A simple way to keep the temperature down inside your home is to open windows and doors to allow for a through draft.
The Lullaby Trust highlight that the safest room temperature for babies, to protect against SIDS, is 16-20⁰C, but in the warmer months you might find this difficult. If the room where the baby sleeps is difficult to cool, use lighter bedding and clothing (and perhaps even just put baby to sleep in a nappy alone if it is very warm) and open the bedroom door and a window, if it is safe to do so.
If you choose to use a fan to cool the room, don’t aim it directly on the baby.
If you have a garden how about getting a paddling pool? If this isn’t an option, why not run a cool bath for your baby.
For the whole family: A useful tip for this scorcher of a summer is to carry a water spray bottle. You can pick these up from most supermarkets alongside the health and beauty products. If you keep this cool in the fridge before you go out, when you and your kids feel as though you’re too hot, A little spray on the face can make all the difference. A great tip for heavily pregnant women too!
By putting a cool slightly wet muslin or flannel on a baby's stomach you may be able to lower his/her body temperature.
It is also important to ensure that your baby has sufficient fluids if bottle-fed, by offering cooled, boiled water to babies under six months or just water from the tap for babies over six months. Fully breastfed babies don't need any extra water until they start eating solid food.
Whether breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, your baby will require more fluids when it is hot.