Hot Summer Season Tips for Babies and Toddlers
Who doesn’t love a long, hot summer? While we’re out having fun in the sun, it is important not to forget the risk and danger that it poses - especially for the sensitive skin of young babies and toddlers. It is important to take note of these trusty tips for keeping your little ones safe and protected under the sun’s powerful rays.
Block The Sun
Get your child ready to spend some time out in the sunshine! Always apply sunscreen and for extra protection. Put on a sunhat and UV-protective sunglasses.
For newborns and babies under 6 months of age: Because infants' skin is so sensitive, it's better in the first six months to shield them from the sun rather than use sunscreen. It's especially important to avoid direct sun exposure and seek the shade during the sun's hours of greatest intensity, between 10 AM and 4 PM. If you do go out into the sun with your newborn it is important to give them shade, clothing, and protective hats. When choosing a protective hat, it is recommended that it also covers the back of the neck.
For babies 6 months of age and older: When stepping out into the sun, it is important to apply sunscreen for babies 6 months and older. Apply a sunscreen product that is catered for children to all exposed areas of the body. An important first step is to check for skin irritation by applying a small amount of the sunscreen to use on a patch of your baby’s skin 48 hours before you go out. Anytime that you are using a new sunscreen product, it is important to do a patch test. If your child develops a rash, talk to your pediatrician about special sensitive skin formulas.
It is important to seek out shade when you're outside for longer periods of time with your child. When you arrive at the beach or the park, look for a protected spot, such as under a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy. A handy item to take to the shore is a tent made of fabric treated to block the sun's harmful rays. Make sure it has see-through mesh sides for proper ventilation
Just like adults, babies and young children need to drink a ton of fluids, especially water to avoid dehydration. This goes without saying, but hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Infants under 6 months shouldn't drink water (babies over 6 months can take in modest amounts), replace the lost liquids by providing extra formula or by nursing more frequently. Your infant may want to feed more often but for less time. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer. Pay careful attention to any signs that your baby may be dehydrated. Some common signs of dehydration include: fussiness, redness, vomiting, refusing to drink, and/or excessive crying.
Cover your baby’s body, arms, and legs with clothing. Since a baby doesn't perspire effectively, they can become overheated far more quickly than an adult. Choose a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun. Keep any nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum. If your baby kicks or pushes off the covers during the night, consider putting them in just a nappy with a single layer baby sleeping bag or a well-secured sheet that won’t work loose and cover their face or get entangled during the night.
Avoid Powders, Creams, & Ointments
The use of powders, creams, ointments, and other thick, oily substances can block sweat ducts and contribute to heat rash in humid weather. Avoid the need for these by keeping your baby’s skin as cool and dry as possible. Make use of lightweight clothing and dressing appropriately for the weather to promote dry skin. If needed, use a cool, damp washcloth to remove sweat and oils, as well as to dry off any excess moisture.
Following these 4 tips are sure to keep your child safe while having fun in the sun. Although the sun doesn’t seem very dangerous, a child’s skin is extremely sensitive and can burn easily. It is always important to err on the safe side when it comes to protecting your child in the sun.