Experts offer advice on staying safe while having fun in the sun

Experts from Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust are urging parents to keep their little ones safe with temperatures increasing.

Summer is set to arrive over the next few days and by taking some simple precautions there’s no reason why families can’t enjoy some fun in the sun.

During hot spells Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department sees the numbers young people suffering from sun stroke and burns increase, which could have been avoided by taking simple steps to protect from harmful rays.

It’s important to:

  • Remember that the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm so spend time in the shade and cover up with suitable clothing.
  • Always wearing a hat in direct sunlight and drinking plenty of water reduces chances of getting sun-stroke
  • Keep babies under the age of six months out of strong direct sunlight at all times due to their delicate skin
  • Apply sun cream with a minimum Sun Protection Factor 15 to protect the skin against ultra violet sun rays and be sure to check its expiry date. Be sure to check the label has a ‘UVA’ circle logo and at least four-star UVA protection.
  • Liberally and frequently apply sun cream throughout the day and especially after being in water – even if the label reads ‘water resistant’
  • Wear sunglasses to protect eyes and wear wide-brimmed hats that offer extra shade

Dr Chris Chiswell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Sunshine and warmer weather gives us all a great opportunity to enjoy time outdoors with friends and families, and many will be hoping for lots more of it over the summer months. We want everyone to be able to enjoy it, so it’s really important that each of us, especially young people, stays protected.

“By the time the effects of being exposed to the sun start to be felt, both short and long term physical damage has already occurred. Children are more vulnerable, and need their parents and carers to help them stay safe.

“The advice is simple, whatever your age. Apply sun cream regularly, wear a hat and stay hydrated. You will significantly reduce the risk of sun stroke and burns, prevent long term damage, and be able to keep enjoying the good weather all summer.”

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