Blog - Keeping your little one safe in the sun this Summer
Our little ones love spending time outdoors, in our garden, on a walk or at the beach, but as temperatures continue to rise, we thought we'd share some tips with you to help keep your little ones safe in the sun this Summer.
Children's skin is much more sensitive to repeated exposure from sunlight, and damage caused in childhood could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. So it's vitally important to make sure that you protect their skin, and eyes, from the sun's ultraviolet rays. No matter their skin tone, experts recommend that all children wear an SPF of 30 or higher.
At our setting, we ensure that all children are kept well hydrated throughout the day, and in very hot weather we offer ice lollies to help keep everyone cool.
How can I protect my child's skin?
Babies should be kept out of the sun whenever possible, but dress them in lightweight clothing that covers the body, choose a hat with a wide brim to shadow their face, and apply sunscreen of at least SPF30 to any areas that remain exposed, reapplying at least every two hours. In our setting, we keep very young babies completely out of the sun as their skin is so sensitive.
Toddlers and children should try to avoid the strongest rays of the day (usually between 10am and 4pm). Remember that even on cloudy days, UV rays still reach the earth which can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage. As well as sun screen (at least SPF30), and loose, lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs if possible, create areas of shade in outside spaces if you can. If you're out and about, wide umbrellas and pop-up play tents are a great way to help your little one find an escape from the sun.
Protect your eyes, not just your skin
Prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate eye protection can cause a painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn. It's important to know that reflected light (from sand or water for example) is particularly dangerous. Looking directly at the sun can also cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms are best, with the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013E (they should offer at least 99% UV protection).
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat (at least 3 inches) will also help to protect your child's eyes from the sun.
Swimming and sunscreen
Sunscreen will wash off in water, plus the cooling effect of water can make you think that you're not burning. You should always reapply sunscreen as soon as your child gets out of the water, including after sweating or towel drying as it may have rubbed off.
Dealing with sunburn
Sponge sore skin with cool water, or even better encourage your child to have a cool bath or shower, and then apply a cooling after sun lotion or spray such as aloe vera. Paracetamol and ibuprofen will help to reduce any pain or inflammation, and make sure that your child drinks plenty of fluid. Children must stay out of the sun until all of the redness has gone.
We kindly ask that all children arrive at the setting with sunscreen applied (plus a labelled bottle in their bag for us to apply throughout the day) and a named sun hat.