Parenting Hacks

Sun Safety for Babies: Keeping Your Little Ones Cool and Protected this Summer

Sun Safety for Babies: Keeping Your Little Ones Cool and Protected this Summer

Hello, summer! It's that delightful English summer time again, and we're relishing every moment basking in the sunshine. When you become a parent, coping with the heat and intense summer sun takes on a whole new significance. Shade, high SPF sunscreen, and keeping hydrated become absolute essentials.

Here are some tips for keeping babies safe in the sun:

  • Infants younger than 6 months should avoid direct sunlight altogether. Their delicate skin lacks sufficient melanin to shield them from its effects.

  • Babies aged six months and older should also be shielded from direct sunlight as much as possible, particularly between 11am and 3pm, the hottest hours of the day.

  • Apply sunscreen with SPF30 or higher (we recommend SPF50) to your baby at regular intervals, ideally every hour, to ensure continuous protection. Opt for sun products suitable for sensitive skin that guard against both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Keep your baby well-hydrated by offering plenty of water, especially when away from home. You can freeze water with mashed fruit like strawberries or raspberries in ice lolly containers for a refreshing treat, particularly helpful if your baby is teething.

  • If breastfeeding, choose a well-ventilated area if possible to ensure both you and your baby are comfortable. Avoid covering the baby's face during feeds to prevent overheating. Drinking at least 100ml of water before feeds can help keep you hydrated.

  • In the summer sun, babies should always wear a brimmed sun hat that covers their shoulders and neck for maximum protection.
  • Paddling pools are great fun but always supervise your baby closely. Place the pool in the shade away from direct sunlight, and regularly check the water temperature and cleanliness.

  • Dress your baby in loose-fitting, light-coloured cotton or linen clothing to keep them cool. Dark colours like navy and black absorb more heat. Ensure any exposed skin is covered in sunscreen with SPF30 or higher.

  • Avoid driving or sitting in a parked car with your baby in hot weather, as well as prolonged outdoor exposure during the hottest times of the day, to prevent rapid rises in body temperature.

While heatstroke is rare in babies, it's crucial to be vigilant for signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Look out for:

  • High body temperature (38°C or above)
  • Cool, clammy skin despite warm weather
  • Goosebumps
  • Increased sweating
  • Dizziness, fainting, weakness, or confusion
  • Increased thirst
  • Severe headaches

If your child displays any of these symptoms, contact 111 or 999 or your GP immediately.

As babies can't communicate discomfort from heat, watch for unusual behaviors like restlessness, rapid breathing, lethargy, irritability, or vomiting, which may indicate a heat-related illness. Don't hesitate to seek medical help if you suspect your baby is unwell due to the heat. In emergencies, call 999 (UK emergency number).

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer!

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