Expert post: Sun safety for kids
We all want our children to play outside more as the weather gets hotter but it's important that they avoid getting sunburnt.
Children are more likely than adults to suffer from sunburn because they have thinner, younger skin. Not only is sunburn extremely unpleasant and painful, but getting sunburnt at an early age can raise your child's chances of getting skin cancer later in life. I once got very badly sunburnt as a teenager - my skin was literally peeling off in sheets and I had to lie down (painfully) for two days - so I am very vigilant with my own children.
Protecting your child from sunburn
- Make sure they wear sunscreen of at least factor 15 (ideally higher) when they are going to be out in the sun. Remember that many schools and other organisations are not allowed to apply sunscreen to children so you will need to apply it before they leave home.
- Encourage your children to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
- Reapply sunscreen after swimming, even if it is waterproof.
- Consider UV suits or wetsuits. This takes a lot of hassle out of applying and reapplying sunscreen and there is no danger of missing bits and yoru child ending up with a painful pink stripe. I recently bought my kids some great UV suits on eBay and shorty wetsuits from Decathlon.
- A sunhat can help protect their neck and face.
- Educate your child. Tell him or her about the dangers of sunburn and how they can prevent it.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
Heat exhaustion occurs when the core temperature rises. It can happen in very hot weather, especially if your child is very active and not drinking enough. Symptoms include nausea, feeling faint and heavy sweating. This can develop into heat stroke if untreated which is more serious, but is unusual in the UK.
If you suspect your child is suffering from heat exhaustion, get them to sit down somewhere cool and quiet and drink plenty of water. They should start to feel better within around half an hour. If they don't, medical help should be sought.
The sun can also harm your child's eyes. They should wear sunglasses which protect their eyes from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses can be bought quite cheaply - more expensive ones do not necessarily offer better protection.
Sun safety tips from www.safekids.co.uk
NHS sun safety advice
Photo: Linda Jones We love the sun!
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