It is hot, hot, HOT out there people! I may have forgotten to put suncream on my own shoulders this morning and now am an embarrassing shade of brick. With kids, it’s even more important to spend those annoying 5 minutes applying suncream and fixing those sunhats firmly onto those little heads. Here are a few tips to staying safe out there;

  • Apply suncream! Here are some things you may not be aware of about suncream –
    • Apparently you should actually apply up to 30 minutes before you even leave the house. I did not know this. Spend those 2 minutes applying cream to a squirmy toddler, and another 3 applying it to yourself whilst said toddler climbs all over you and/or fights you for the suncream bottle.
    • You need to protect against UVA and UVB sunrays. Who knew there was more than one kind?! So make sure you read the small print on the suncream you buy to check it protects against both. In case you’re wondering, here’s a teeny, tiny bit of info.
      • UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling, and suppression of the immune system. UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.
    • Don’t forget the random places on your body, and your kid’s, that will see the sun – that includes tops of feet and hands, hair parting, backs of ears, and that tricky bit underneath your arm that isn’t quite armpit or back.
  • Put a hat on them. If possible, always make sure it is the kind with the straps that fasten with velcro under their chins. Otherwise they tend to stay on for about 1 second. Other ways to keep them on – put them on them while they’re on the swing in the playground, then push them before they can reach for it. They’ll have to grab to hang on to the swing and won’t be able to take their hat off!
  • Hydrate. Keep offering water to them, and make sure you’re drinking lots too. Extremely watered down juice really, really helps Archie Bear to keep drinking on the extra hot days. He won’t touch ice cream, but if yours will (like every other toddler out there in the whole world!!!) you can make ice lollies for them out of juice, then you know they’re getting lots of water then too.
  • Set up a shady safe place. Put up a tent, park your buggy in the shade so you have a base to go back to every so often, or just hang some fabric over your garden space. They do this at Archie Bear’s nursery on really hot days over the outdoor space and it’s an absolutely brilliant idea. Attach some string to each corner of a big sheet or tablecloth (if anyone owns tablecloths anymore – anyone??) by either sewing, punching a hole and tying it through, or however you can (!!), and tie each bit of string to a fence, pole, tree, plant, signpost, lamppost, door handle, etc.
  • Reapply suncream!!
  • Alternatives to a sunhat. If your child really will not keep a hat on, you can get special stuff from pharmacies to spray on your head to keep your scalp safe from burning. It’s called scalp protector, and here’s a link to one from Superdrug. They’re doing a deal on Suncare at the mo – buy one, get second half price. Time to stock up??
  • Stay indoors/under cover. I know this doesn’t sound that much fun, but when it’s really hot sometimes it’s the safest option. For those of us with children who still nap during the day (long may it last!!!) this is sort of forced on us anyway, but be careful between 11am and 2pm, when the sun is just SO strong!

Have lots and lots of fun, but please, please be safe. Nothing is worth the risk of skin cancer in the future, or being kept up at night by a sunburnt baby or toddler. Yes it may take you about 15 times longer than normal to get out of the house in the morning, but you can do it!!