It seems that now the sun is finally poking it’s face out from the clouds, so summer must be around the corner. Exposure to direct sunlight can be dangerous, especially over long periods of time. Therefore, when you have a baby, it’s really important to follow these steps to keep them safe in the sun.
Babies under the age of six months should be kept away from direct sunlight, especially when the sun is at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm. If you do need to be outside during these times, make sure you have effective shade to keep your baby protected and use sunscreen.
This could include a mesh shield for your car window, or using a UV window film. If you need some shade protection for your baby in their buggy, do not use any form of cloth draped over it. This can cause your baby to overheat inside the buggy. Instead, use a specially designed sun shade cover or parasol. Look for parasols that are clip on or have a bendy handle, so that you can move their position through the day.
Babies and children should wear a hat if they are outside, even when it is overcast or cloudy. Choose styles which have a wide all-around brim or have extra material at the back, rather than a baseball cap. This will give your child protection on their neck and ears, which can easily become burnt.
If your child is going to be wearing sunglasses, check that they are suitable for children and meet the correct British Standards for safety – the CE mark and BSEN 1836:2005.
Although it may be hot, your child will be well protected if they are wearing clothes. Loose fitting clothes made from linen or cotton will be the coolest options. Also look for the t-shirt and shorts style or all in one swimwear styles if you are going to be swimming.
As with hats, sunscreen should be used even when the sky is cloudy or overcast. Look for a product with a high SPF value, at least over 15, but use factor 30 or 50 for very young babies. Choose sunscreens which have UVA and UVB protection, with at least 3 stars of UVB, which will be shown in a circle on the packaging.
There will be many options which are labelled as specifically for children. The difference between these products and other varieties will just be added features like non-sticky formulaes or added colouring so that you can see where they have been applied. The level of UVA and UVB protection will be the same as the ‘adult’ equivalents, so it is fine to use these.
Apply sunscreen all over, paying special attention to the face, ears, nose and neck. If your child is wearing sandals, you will still need to apply sunscreen to their feet as these can burn easily. Reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if your child has been swimming or get wet.
As you can see, it is very straightforward to keep your child safe in the sun, with only a few basic products required.