With many of us confined to our homes during the lockdown, lots of children are spending more time than usual having fun outside in the garden. It's great to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise but with summer on its way, it's important to remember to stay safe in the sun.
Unfortunately, when the sun is out the specialist teams at the Children's Hospital's Emergency Department do see an increase in the number of babies and children they treat for sunstroke and dehydration. When having fun in the sun to remember the following things:
It’s important to:
- Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct strong 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. Also make sure the label has a ‘UVA’ circle logo and at least four-star UVA protection;
- Apply sun cream liberally and frequently throughout the day and especially after being in water – even if the label reads ‘water resistant’.
- You should be using about two tablespoons at every application of sun cream, and to maximise the effect, apply it 30 minutes before you head out, and then reapply just as you head out the door;
- Remember that the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm so spend time in the shade and cover up with suitable clothing;
- Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect eyes and wide-brimmed hats that offer extra shade;
- And finally drinking plenty of water reduces the chance of getting sun-stroke.
Dr Christopher Chiswell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“The warmer weather provides us with the perfect opportunity to spend time outside, enjoying the great places around us with friends and family. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the summer months, so it’s really important that we protect our children and young people.
“By the time the consequences of being exposed to the sun take effect, physical damage has occurred. Children, especially babies, are more vulnerable, and so we’re asking all parents and carers to help them stay safe.
“Whatever your age, make sure you apply sun cream regularly, wear a hat and stay hydrated. If you follow these simple steps, you will significantly reduce the risk of sunstroke and burns, prevent long term damage, and be able to keep enjoying the good weather all summer.”