Healthcare| May 20, 2020

4 tips to keep children safe in the sun


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Joyously, Britain is finally getting some hot weather. Not only does this give our favourite conversation starter a positive spin, but it’s also a fantastic time for kids to play outdoors and enjoy the warm weather, especially whilst we spend extended periods of time at home. However, it is vital to ensure that your children are well protected from the sun’s rays, be this at home or on future summer holidays. Indeed, as The World Health Organisation estimates, 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood. Not only can sunburn cause pain and discomfort in the short term, but excessive exposure to the sun can increase a child’s risk of cancer later in life.

Here's some tips to help your children enjoy the sun safely:

1. Watch the clock

The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm, so it’s a good idea to encourage children to play in the shade during these times. Don’t forget that shady spots can still be affected by reflected light, so be sure to still apply sun cream. Most importantly, keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.

2. Cover with clothing

Make sure children wear clothing that will protect the shoulders and back of the neck – the most common areas for sunburn. Lightweight, oversized clothing and floppy or ‘Legionnaire’ hats that shade the neck are both good options. Clothing labelled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) will also give extra protection. If you’re at the beach, make sure to bring an umbrella or tent to protect kids during a long day building sandcastles.

3. Apply the correct suncream

Even on cloudy or overcast days, exposed parts of your child’s skin should be covered with suncream at this time of year. Select a cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above in order to protect against both UVB and UVA light and reapply every 2-3 hours, especially after swimming. When you can eventually travel abroad again to a country that is (surprise, surprise!) warmer than it is in the U.K., you’ll want a sun cream with a stronger protection factor.

4. Bring out the shades

Finally, it’s important to protect your child’s eyes from the sun. Look for children’s sunglasses that are labelled with a ‘CE’ mark and as having at least 99% UV protection. Not only will this protect their eyes for later in life, but they’ll look cool doing it.

How to treat sunburn?

Don’t forget that if your child’s sunburn is severe you should seek appropriate medical advice. Otherwise, you can try out the following treatments to ease the pain of burns and the symptoms of heatstroke.

  • After-sun cream on the affected areas
  • Cool baths and showers
  • Plenty of water to re-hydrate
  • Cool the skin with cold packs or a fan
  • Age appropriate pain medication if needed

Stay safe and enjoy the sun!

If you or your family have been severely affected by sunburn or if symptoms persist, be sure to consult a medical professional. With the Qured app, you can get a telephone consultation with a GP in a matter of minutes, wherever you are. Download the app today.

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