Sad Star’s 6 tips for keeping your children sun-safe this summer. No Sad Stars this holiday please!
The sun has the potential to be the biggest threat to our children during the summer period. We are simply not used to extreme heat and relentless sunshine in this country and although it can be a welcome change, it has the ability to ruin our summer. Here are Sad Star’s tips on keeping your children sun-safe this summer.
Sad Star’s tip No.1
I always try to use an SPF 15 or higher with UVA and UVB protection every time your child goes outside.
But what are UVA and UVB and what is the difference?
UVA rays – very dangerous, and will penetrate deep into the skin.
UVB rays will usually burn the top layers of the skin.
An excellent sunscreen is Garnier’s Ambre Solaire kids’ sensitive sunscreen that has an SPF of 50 and protection of UVA and UVB.
For sun-safe children, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet. If they’ll stay still long enough! Reapply every two hours and after swimming.
Sad Star’s Tip No.2
Children don’t have to be at the pool, beach, or abroad to get too much sun…they can even get too much sun when it’s cloudy!
UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to stay indoors then. If this is not possible, try to stay in the shade.
Apart from sunscreen protection, cover your child in long-sleeved shirts. You can get inexpensive sun suits like these from Adsa for children that protect from UVA rays.
Also, contrary to belief, a wet T-shirt doesn’t offer as much UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.
Sun hats that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck are ideal but still protect these areas with sunscreen to be on the safe side…you know how long a two year old wants to keep a hat on!
Kids love wearing sunglasses! Look for sunglasses that wrap around. These from Amazon are great and don’t cost the earth!
Sad Star’s tip No.3
Insect bites and stings
There are so many old wives tales about what and what not to do! I’m about to dispel one of them…do not use vinegar or bicarbonate of soda – it’s a waste of time.
- If your child was stung and you can see the insect’s stinger, remove it as quickly as possible by scraping the skin horizontally with the edge of a credit card or your fingernail.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
Apply ice wrapped in a towel or cloth or a cool wet cloth to the area to relieve pain and swelling.
Get Medical Care if:
- the sting or bite is near or inside the mouth.
- your child has a known severe allergy to a stinging or biting insect.
- injectable epinephrine (EpiPen) was used.
- if the site looks infected (has increasing redness, warmth, swelling, pain, or pus several hours or longer after the sting or bite.)
Keep your child from:
- walking barefoot while on grass.
- playing in areas where insects and wasps congregate – avoid sitting near a bin in an outdoor cafe.
- drinking from fizzy drink cans outside (these attract insects) ouch!
Sad Star’s tip No.4
It’s imperative for your child’s health during the summer to up their intake of fluids. Water is best for children during the hot weather.
Children have a higher ratio of water in their bodies than adults, which makes staying hydrated even more important for them.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, it also means that even though they’re smaller, children still need the same amount of water as adults.
It’s important to check your child’s water intake carefully and make sure they’re regularly re-hydrating. This is extra important during the summer when the weather is warmer, or if your child spends a lot of their day running around.
Sad Star’s tip No.5
More than 60 children drown during the summer every year in the UK.
- Under age 1: Babies most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, and toilets.
- 1–4 years old: Young children most often drown in swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas.
Always watch children closely when they’re in or near any water, no matter what their swimming skills. Even children who know how to swim can be at risk for drowning. For instance, a child could slip and fall on the hard pool side, lose consciousness, and fall into the pool.
Young children should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach.
If you are in the garden with your children in the paddling pool, or at the local outdoor pool, put your phone away.
We are more likely to fancy an alcoholic drink during a warm afternoon or early balmy evening. Leave it until when the children are in bed.
It’s so good to see so many young parents taking their children to swimming lessons as they are so important for water safety.
Children can start taking lessons at age 1. Younger children often begin with water survival skills training (like learning how to roll onto their back and float). Along with swimming lessons, this training can reduce the risk of drowning in children ages 1–4. It’s great fun too!
Children and parents often can take these classes together. Check local sports centers for classes taught by a qualified instructor. If you don’t know how to swim, consider taking lessons.
Sad Star’s tip No.6
Heat exhaustion isn’t as serious as heatstroke and can be cured comparatively easily if you can cool your child down within 30 minutes.
Signs of heat exhaustion are:
- Dizziness and confusion.
- Loss of appetite / Feeling sick.
- excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin.
- cramps in the arms, legs and stomach.
- fast breathing or pulse.
- temperature of 38C or above.
- being very thirsty.becoming floppy and/or sleepy.
To cool a child down:
- Move them to a cool place.
- Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
- Get them to drink plenty of water.
- Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too.
Stay with them until they are better.
They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.
Heatstroke, on the other hand, is a much more serious condition and there is a high risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke during hot weather or exercise.
Preventing heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of cold drinks.
- If you have a paddling pool or a hose sprinkler, encourage children to cool down in the water.
- Keep your children out of the sun between 11 a.m and 3 p.m
- For older children, avoid lots of running around, jumping and chasing.
This will also prevent dehydration and help their bodies cool.
Call 999 if your child:
- is no better after 30 minutes
- feels hot and dry
- is not sweating even though they are too hot
- has a temperature that’s risen to 40C or above
- has rapid or shortness of breath
- is confused
- has a fit (seizure)
- loses consciousness
- is unresponsive
These can be signs of heatstroke.
So, let’s have Safe Stars and no Sad Stars this summer – all the tips above can also be found on the NHS website.
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I hope these tips have been useful – enjoy your children’s company this holiday.
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