There is no escaping the warm weather recently (not that I have tried to) but children don't seem to appreciate the effect that the sun (and the heat) can have on them. So after a recent bout of heatstroke with the tween due to a particularly sunny afternoon on the school playing field, here are our top tips for keeping children protected and cool whether you travelling or staying at home this summer.
This seem fairly obvious but even I can forget to keep hydrated when I am involved in work something interesting. Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Trying to get children to drink water can be challenging but you just need to get a little creative when trying to keep them hydrated. If they're over six months old and they are bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day. For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.
Playing in a paddling pool is a good way of keeping babies and children cool. Keep the pool in the shade during very hot weather and supervise the children carefully at all times.
I remember never applying sunscreen in the UK when I was a child but it is the same sun and Factor 50 is my friend. When applying sun lotion we tend to forget the scalp, hairline and ears - especially if we are blessed with a full head of hair - assuming that this will act as a barrier. This is not necessarily the case, so to ensure no embarrassing red or inflamed scalp burns, apply sun spray to these areas generously, or look for specialist non-greasy Scalp Protector products like Calypso Scalp Protector which offers instant protection to scalps and partings and can be sprayed directly through the hair onto the scalp.
Cover exposed parts of your child's skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don't forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet.
You need at least 35ml of suncream to ensure you cover your entire body and receive the correct level of protection - reducing this quantity will leave you more exposed to skin damage. Finding the right sunscreen for your child can be like finding the right moisturiser for your skin, don't assume that one type will suit every member of your family.
Children should be encouraged to adventure and be a child but it is always worth reinforcing caution. That paddling brook, river or even a pond may seem like a good idea to a small child but even the strongest swimmer can be affected by cold water shock, which affects your ability to control breathing. This can lead to gasping, panic and – in the worst cases – drowning.
Holidays and the summer months are a great time for children to learn swimming and water safety skills, I know my girls can't wait to get in the pool in this heat.
Hang wet towels over chairs or windows when it's really stifling. The evaporating water will help the air to cool and if you can keep your child's bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains, this will also help keep the temperature down
A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby's room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16°C (61°F) and 20°C (68°F).
And finally, make sure that any waterproof sheets are removed and only cotton ones are on the bed. Dress them appropriately for bed and keep your fingers crossed for a restful nights sleep!
Would you add any other words of wisdom?