It’s almost summer time and the temperature is starting to climb. As it gets warmer outside, you need to start thinking about how to best protect your little ones from the sun’s rays and heat. Young children are especially prone to health problems from the sun and heat such as sunburns, heat stroke and dehydration. Before you head out to a sunny destination, be sure you’re prepared.
Apply and Reapply Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an absolute must. Wearing long pants and long sleeves isn’t always practical, so be sure you cover every inch of exposed skin on baby and yourself with a good sunscreen. And then reapply as instructed to keep your little ones protected.
If possible, opt for the stroller with a canopy and stick to shady lanes, not ones in the full sun. A bit of shade can make a huge difference in temperature, so you want to stay covered as much as possible. Be sure to also wear as much clothing as the temperature will allow. A hat is a must to protect baby’s delicate scalp and face, and a hat with a chin strap will help to keep it from getting lost.
Up Fluid Intake
When you’re outside in the heat, you tend to sweat to try and cool off. This means you lose precious water that must be replenished. Not only should you be toting a bottle of water for your hike or day at the park, your little ones should all be carrying their own bottles of water. Juice, formula, milk and sports drinks all provide fluids, but water is the best option as it contains no sugar and is in the simplest form.
Stay Inside During the Hottest Part of the Day
The hottest part of the day is between 10am and 2pm according to many. The sun is almost directly overhead and the heat can be intense with very little shade. Use those hours to rest or play inside and venture out in the morning and later in the afternoon or evening when there are longer shadows and less direct sunlight.
The younger a child, the less exposure to the sun they should have. Five minutes in a parking lot is plenty for most infants and toddlers don’t need more than an hour or so without taking a break in the shade or air conditioning. Once you’ve had a chance to cool, head back into the sun for a bit more fun. If there isn’t available shade where you’re heading, bring along a canopy or large umbrella. At the beach, for instance, you can set up a beach tent and bring the kids under for juice at designated times.
Watch For Signs of Too Much Sun
Keep an eye on your children for signs of too much sun. Dry skin when he should be sweating, chapped lips, sunburn, headaches and nausea are signs that your child needs hydration and shade or air conditioning as soon as possible.