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Keeping your baby safe in the sun

July 10th, 2020
Keeping your baby safe in the sun
Now that lockdown is being eased around the world, there is nothing better than being able to get out and about on a warm sunny day and just to be able to enjoy a simple walk in the countryside or the local park- things we used to take for granted. It is very important that if you are going out and about that you know how to effectively protect your baby’s skin from the powerful UV rays. It has been proven that one bad case of sunburn as a child, increases the chances of an adult developing melanoma (one of the most serious forms of skin cancer) by as much as 40%.

The preventative measures that you can take as a parent are straight forward, but they can only be effective if you use them every day – don’t forget that even on a cloudy day, it is possible to get a sun tan from UV rays so that proves that your baby’s very delicate skin is at risk – don’t take the gamble, whenever you are leaving home, make sure that you are well prepared and your baby is well protected.

Back to basics.

Before you read about the special things you must do to protect your baby in the sun, there are a couple of basic points to remember. The first is that in hot weather, you should always dress your baby in natural fibres as it is very easy for them to develop a heat rash. Loose fitting clothes are much more comfortable for your baby too.

Wearing a nappy (diaper) can certainly be hot and uncomfortable, so it is lovely if you can let your baby go nappy free for a short time every day. Time this carefully to avoid unnecessary mess, but watch your baby’s sheer delight at being lain on a cool cotton sheet on the floor without a nappy on and having the freedom to kick all they want! Don’t be tempted to strip your baby totally as most feel very vulnerable and at a cotton vest proves to be essential clothing!

The other big essential to remember is that babies can get dehydrated very quickly, so regularly offer them cool sips of pre-boiled water or one of the unsweetened baby juices, diluted 50-50, to quench their thirst. Extra feeds of milk is not something that they need as they are thirsty rather than hungry.
Older babies will enjoy licking ice lollies and ice cream as these have a great cooling effect.
Always think sunscreen

Buying the correct sunscreen and applying it regularly is the essential way to protect your baby. Interestingly, baby sunscreens are not advised for use on children under six months and this is quite simply because young babies should be kept out of the sun at all costs. There are two reasons for this, the first is that the sin of babies under six months is incredibly sensitive and the second is that this sensitivity extends to ingredients in even the purest sun protection creams.

Once your baby is six months old, you need to invest in a good quality sun cream that has been designed especially for babies and has a SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 and is effective against UVA and UVB rays. It is a good idea to buy some total sun block and to apply this to key places such as noses, the tops of ears, cheek bones, knees and feet as well as the back of the neck and lips.

Remember to reapply the sun cream very regularly and especially before and after your baby goes into any water. Be Mediterranean in your approach and not take your baby out in the sun between 11.00-4.00 p.m. each day as this is when the sun is at its hottest and the UV rays are most powerful.
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Get a good sun shade for your stroller/pram

Nothing beats the shade that a parasol or sun canopy can provide your baby and it is well worth investing in one as soon as the sun days arrive. Many of the canopies are directional so it is important to ensure that they are providing shade for the whole time you are out as the position of the sun does change.
Always put a hat on your baby.

You need to choose a hat that has a brim so that it will shade your baby’s face and importantly, the back of their neck and tops of their ears. A light cotton one that is easily washed is ideal – and one with elastic that fits under their chin might just keep the hat in place! Take time to choose the right size as a hat that is too large and slides down to distort your baby’s vision will prove very frustrating and your baby will want to throw it away!

Invest in some Sun-Protective Clothing

If you are planning to travel abroad with your baby or you are lucky enough to live in a hot climate, it might well be worth buying some special clothing that contains special protective levels – these are known as UPF- Ultraviolet Protection Factor. There are a variety of items of clothing made in different fabrics with different SPF – the ideal is 50 or more, so check the labels carefully before you buy as the clothing is not cheap, but is nevertheless a good investment.

For older babies a good pair of shades too…

Sunglasses for older babies are a good idea if you are planning to spend plenty of time in the sun. There are many on the market, but it is pointless spending lots of money, but essential that you check that the sunglasses have the CE Mark and British Standard (BS EN 1836:2005) as these ensure good quality. You also need to check that they have a UV 400 label, as this shows that that the sunglasses offer 100 percent UV protection. A useful accessory to buy is a neoprene strap to help keep them on your baby!
Happy Summer!
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Chrissie x

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