Sun Safety for BabiesPublished on
Whether you’re enjoying a staycation or heading abroad, it’s important to be mindful that the hotter weather can be dangerous for babies and young children. Read our top tips to ensure that your little ray of light stays sun safe:
1. Seek the shade
Your baby’s soft skin is as delicate as it feels, and infants under six months haven’t yet developed the necessary melanin to protect them from the sun. To keep them from harm, all babies under this age should be shielded from direct sunlight. Older babies and toddlers should also have very limited sun exposure – especially in in the midday sunshine, when the sun is burning brightest.
When your little one starts to spend short periods in the sun, there are sunscreens formulated especially for infants, which can be used on babies from six months onwards (always check the label). Use a very high factor and reapply regularly, especially if your child is in and out of a paddling pool or enjoying splashing in the waves.
Many parents opt for a mineral rather than chemical sunscreen to minimise risk of skin irritation. Also look out for ocean-friendly sunscreens made without the chemical oxybenzone – a common ingredient - which harms coral reefs.
In addition to shade seeking and sunscreen, hats look cute and offer some protection from the sun. Use one with a wide brim and long back flap to cover the neck area. You can also buy special sunshades, swimsuits and pram coverings, which offer further sun protection.
2. The heat is on
Even when babies and children are shielded from the sun’s harmful rays, you must be careful that they don’t overheat.
In the daytime, babies might enjoy lying on their play mat in just their nappies or vests. The ideal room temperature should be between 16 – 20 degrees Celsius.
Keep rooms cool by shutting the curtains in the daytime, and it may also be worth investing in a fan.
In the evening, adjust nightwear to suit bedroom temperature – your tot’s normal sleepsuit or sleeping bag may be too warm on hotter nights. Help them keep their cool by giving them a slightly cooler bath (not cold) than normal before bed, which will be soothing if they’re hot and bothered.
- Don't dehydrate
Like adults, in the summer months, babies and young children need to keep hydrated with plenty of fluids.
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your baby won’t need any extra water until they’ve started on solids. You might notice that they want to feed more in the warmer weather but for shorter periods. After you have finished breastfeeding sessions, you may feel hot and sticky. Cool off by mopping your skin with a wet cloth or by using Pura wipes, which contain skin soothing organic aloe vera.
If you’re bottle feeding, NHS advice states that bottle fed babies can be given completely cooled boiled water, in addition to their usual milk. Toddlers too, may become easily dehydrated in hot weather, so ensure they are offered plenty of cooling drinks and perhaps an ice lolly treat throughout the day.
We hope our tips help you enjoy the warm weather while it lasts! If you need further advice, don’t forget to contact your health professional.
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