Summer is well and truly here. We’ve been promised some hefty heatwaves in the UK over the next few weeks, and I wore a skirt, so I can confirm that we’re all ready for it.
In theory, that is. In reality, we’ll have to shed our cardis and give up our cuppas – we’ll be wishing for autumn again in no time. But for now, let’s imagine the bliss of the summer sun, bbq's in the back garden, and children happily playing outside, heads in the clouds rather than attached to screens.
As parents, we all understand that sun comes with safety issues. The best way to protect little ones from harm is to keep them covered. Sunblock is advised from birth to five years, with factor 30+ sunscreen thereafter. You should also be sure that your selection protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
Sun cream aside, there are other ways to keep our youngsters safe in the sun, whether you’re holidaying at home or venturing abroad.
Invest in a sun safe swimsuit
Unlike other items in your kids’ wardrobes, sun safe swimwear is made from material that offers a specific level of ultraviolet (UV) protection. Look for a swim piece that provides UPF 50. This will block 98 per cent of the sun’s UV radiation. All very scientific, but in practical talk, it means not having to reapply sun cream every single hour of the summer holidays. I know it is nice to get a bit of colour but I would rather have the peace of mind than the worry of sunburn.
Aim for the shaded areas
Keep the kids in shaded areas. It may seem like common sense, but sun worshippers out there can be too quick to dismiss the risks of being out in direct sun all day. Give your children’s sensitive skin a break from harmful UV rays and find a cool spot out of the sun. It is also possible to buy sun safe play tents for young children, which provide shade and additional UPF protection.
Stay out of the midday heat
The sun is at its strongest between midday and 3pm, wherever you are in the world. This is the best time for children to take a break from being outdoors. Head inside, grab some lunch. If you’re out and about, find somewhere cool to sit inside for a little while. When holidaying with nippers, try to build in a daytime nap just after noon. That way everyone gets some rest, and the children miss the glare of the midday heat.
Pack a sun hat
Sun hats can help prevent the scalp from burning, while providing shade over sensitive facial areas. UPF protector caps are now available to buy too, which usually include sunshade neck flaps as well. Keep the head undercover, there’s nothing worse for children than a serious bout of sunstroke on holiday. Or for us grown-ups, for that matter.
Reconsider your holiday dates
Sure, it’s good to getaway to Greek isles in the peak of summer, but have you considered holidaying slightly out of season? As well as getting more holiday for your money, temperatures are likely to be much better for young ones. April to May and early October are ideal times to fly to typical holiday destinations, which is what we did this year. A May half term holiday was a novelty for us but it was also a tolerable temperature for the children.
Do you have any other tips?