Sun protection tips for your baby during summer

When a baby is born, their skin protection system is not fully developed. A young child’s skin is thinner than that of an adult and they are more susceptible to sun damage. Even relatively dark-skinned children will need to be protected.

From spring until autumn, parents will need to take sun precautions. Even when the weather is relatively cool, the sun might still be strong.

Children under 12 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight and this can be achieved with UV tents and sun shades for prams. If you’re going on a long walk, do so in the early morning or the late afternoon as the sun is lower and not so strong at these times of the day.

Sun hats with a wide brim are very useful and loose-fitting light clothing that covers arms and legs offers more protection. Sunscreen can be used on babies under six months, but it is better to rely more on shade and clothing.

For babies over six months, sunscreen can be applied to the face and the backs of hands, but take care not to get allow any to get into the mouth or eyes. Don’t forget that your baby may rub their eyes themselves, so don’t apply so much cream around that area.

Keep your child dry during the British summer

If there’s one thing children love, it’s playing in water. Furthermore, the British weather is only reliable in the sense that you can rely on it not to stay the same for long – many’s the time we take our family for a day out, bathed in sunshine, only to arrive at our destination with the heavens having opened.

The important thing is to be prepared. Don’t let the weather deter you from doing things, because there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.

Waterproofs are also good on sunny days when your child might be playing with water. Young children are less tolerant of walking around wet and you don’t want them to fall ill either, so it pays to keep them dry. Fortunately, there are all sorts of waterproof clothes available for little ones.

Breathable, waterproof dungarees are a good place to start. They are washable and feature reflective strips which is a sensible addition for when it gets a bit darker, allowing your child to be more easily seen. A poncho is also vital. Small and lightweight, a poncho also offers unparalleled protection from rain as there are no zips or buttons where water can get in. Ponchos also come in handy in other situations too, keeping clothes clean when there’s the potential for messiness.

Helping your baby sleep during the summer months

Most of us look forward to the summer. With better weather and longer hours of daylight, we can get outdoors and this can feel particularly good for new parents who can often feel housebound during the winter. Nevertheless, summer does bring with it certain problems, particularly when it comes to night time.

It is difficult enough persuading a baby to sleep through the night at any time of year, but in summer the problem is magnified. At this time of year, the sun rises before 5am and sets after 9pm, but even then, the nation isn’t instantly plunged into darkness the minute the sun goes down. It remains light for some time after the sun has disappeared from view and similarly, it actually gets light some time before dawn.

Light encourages us to wake up and at the height of summer we need to exclude it so that we can get enough sleep. This is simple enough if you get blackout blinds. Where curtains and conventional blinds still allow a certain amount of light to enter the room, blackout blinds eliminate it completely, allowing your baby to sleep for longer.

The summer is also when we notice how humid it is in the UK. In winter, high humidity is less of an issue, but when the temperature rises, it can feel decidedly uncomfortable. To combat this, you can invest in a dehumidifier. These devices almost silently remove moisture and bacteria from the air, providing your baby with a healthier and more comfortable sleeping environment.

Protect your baby’s skin from the sun during summer

A baby’s skin is far softer and more vulnerable than ours. It is susceptible to sun damage, but may also react to the chemicals in sun creams.

The outer layer of a baby’s skin is a great deal thinner than an adult’s. It also features less melanin, which is what is used to protect it from ultraviolet light. Therefore, a great deal of care must be taken during summer.

Dr Amy Paller, chairman and professor of dermatology and professor of paediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said:

“What we have to realise is how little we really know about babies’ skin, in terms of its responses to UV exposure, and also what’s out there and on the market for sun protection.”

She emphasises that sun protection needs to be adopted from a very early age because studies have shown that babies’ skin is exposed to sunlight more than many of us think. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that babies are kept out of the sun for six months and out of the midday sun after that.

There are many products that can help in this regard. Pram shades and UV travel tents are two that offer excellent sun protection. The latter take just a few seconds to set up and provide the equivalent of +50 UPF protection. UPF ratings are superior to SPF in that it is a measurement of protection from both UVA and UVB. Many travel tents will also feature mosquito netting as well, as an additional benefit.

Copyright 2020 BabySecurity © a division of EDPA Limited, Infant Care Specialist

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