Here Comes the Sun – Keeping Your Baby and Toddler Safe in the Summer Sun

One of the reasons I moved to Spain was for the long hot summers. As a sun worshipper I spent as much time as possible lapping up the rays and spent as much time as possible outside. Now, as a parent of a toddler I find the summer months something of a hazard. I love the fact my daughter can enjoy long days outside in the fresh air, has the beach and a swimming pool on her doorstep and that it’s hot until well into the evening, but protecting her from the strong UV rays while allowing her to enjoy and make the most of her time outside is something of trail. Protecting your baby or toddler from the strong sun is a full time job, but as long as you are prepared and aware of the risks, the sun needn’t spoil your fun. To make the most of the summer in Spain, follow our tips for a safe sunny summer!

Well the good news is that summer does mean we can spend more time outside and research does suggest that babies and toddlers who spend lots of time outdoors each day are happier and sleep more soundly! However exposure to the Sun’s Ultraviolet rays, also know as UV rays causes the skin to burn and dry out and can lead to skin cancer. In fact Cancer Research in the UK recently stated that sunburn during childhood can double the risk of skin cancer melanoma’s in later life.

It’s no surprise that young skin is far more delicate and therefore vulnerable to the sun than adult skin. A baby’s skin is actually only a 5th as thick as an adults skin meaning children therefore burn a lot more quickly than an adult when exposed to the sun. Children with far or red hair, pale eyes and freckles are at most risk but all children should be completely protected from the sun when outside, with babies being kept in the shade as much as possible. A baby’s skin is so sensitive that it can only take 10 -15 minutes of exposure to the sun for a baby to burn.

Sadly twice as many adults get skin cancer now than 20 years ago, so protecting your baby or toddler is of huge importance. Enjoying the summer is about balance … let your baby or toddler enjoy their time outside but ENSURE they are protected. Don’t forget however that babies under six months are less able to regulate their body temperatures and so will probably prefer to be in the shade or indoors during the hottest parts of the day to ensure they don’t overheat. Once babies are on the able to crawl and on the move however they are in danger of burning and must be constantly protected from the strong UV rays. Babies heads at most at danger and should always be covered with a hat or sunshade. Don’t forget too that babies need plenty of fluids in the hot summer sun.

Whatever the age of your child, experts recommend keeping babies and toddlers out of the midday sun altogether and indoors or in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Don’t forget the sun can still damage your child’s skin even if it is cloudy! Babies in particular with their thin and delicate skin burn easily on a cloudy day because it’s not just the visible sunny heat that does the damage, but the invisible UV light.

Protecting Your Baby and Toddler From the Sun in Spain

o Choose a sun cream that’s specifically for babies or small children, these will be a high factor and anti allergy. Don’t forget sun creams do GO OFF so last years probably won’t be any good. Don’t forget to reapply sun cream throughout the day even if waterproof. If your child resists a lotion, then buy a spray as toddlers often find these more fun! Experts recommend applying cream approx 30 mins before first going out in the sun.

o Invest in some proper baby/toddler sunglasses … these might seem a bit of a gimmick but if they are proper UV glasses they will protect your child’s eyes from the glare of the sun and UV rays. Toy sunglasses can do more harm than good.

o UV tents are a great invention, not just for the beach but for back gardens too. Encourage your children to use the tent as a play area or use for babies to shelter on the beach. UV tents are particularly good as the sun is more intense near areas where there is water, or surfaces such as white walls or cement. If you spend a lot of time near one of these ‘suntraps’ a tent is a great way to ensure your child has somewhere to go that is totally protected. UV tents are a good investment for families who live in hot climates.

o If you don’t have a tent ensure your outside space has lots of extra shade by fixing canopies from trees and umbrellas.

o Keep your baby and child covered … invest in loose, cool, cotton long sleeve clothing for running around or for your baby to wear when sitting in a hot buggy. For toddlers the UV protective swim ranges are a good investment and loose T Shirts are a must for running around. Don’t forget wet clothing looses up to half it’s UV protectiveness so change your child into dry clothing after their swim.

o Make sure your car has sun shades on the window as it is actually possible to get sun burnt through glass and try to cool the car down before putting your children inside.

o Babies can get heat rashes burnt and become uncomfortable in their pushchairs in the hot summer months. Minimise clothing and ensure you have a good sunshade which provides total protection to both the top of the head and the rest of their bodies from all directions. Small parasol type sunshades are not good enough to provide total protection.

o Find and invest in a sunhat that your child likes and will wear. Encourage your child to wear a hat with a wide brim or front and back. The wider the protection over the forehead, eyes, ears and neck area the better! Baseball caps are better than nothing but do leave some areas exposed. Small babies with less hair are very vulnerable to head burn and must always wear a hat. are dedicated to helping you protect your baby and toddler from the sun this summer. We now stock a range of UV protective products including sunglasses, wide brimmed sunhats, UV tents and the Shade-a-babe.