Getting a daily dose of vitamin D is important for all, and especially for babies and children; the best source is natural summer sunlight on our skin. However, the soft and gentle skin of babies and children is much more sensitive compared to adults and the risk of skin damage and sunburn in the sunshine is very high; over-exposure to sun can lead to skin cancer in later life, so it’s imperative to offer as much protection as you can and stay sun-safe this summer.
Taking your tiny baby out in the sun for the first time can be daunting, so we’ve provided some tips below to help you to stay safe and sound in the sunshine with your family; great for new parents and a reminder for those with older children too.
Babies under the age of six months should be kept out of direct sunlight – choose a cool, shaded area if you are out and about during the hottest part of the day between 11-3pm. If baby is in a pram or buggy, ensure to use the shade or invest in a parasol to ensure they are adequately shaded.
COVER THEM UP
Think about what to dress your baby or children in in the warmer weather, loosely fitting, lightweight clothing, preferably cotton is best to keep them cool and covered. Also choose a hat or bonnet with a brim to protect their face and neck from sun exposure.
When visiting a splash pool or enjoying some water fun in the garden, choose a sunsafe all-in-one suit for babies and toddlers for maximum coverage too; they have a good range available in the likes of Mothercare, JoJo Maman Bebe and Boots.
Use a high SPF factor sun screen on your children daily, even on cloudy days. Especially focus on the face, neck and shoulders which are particularly prone to sun. Remember to reapply if they have been playing in water.
You may need to experiment with sun creams to find one which works for your family – there are tons available in different formats, cream, spray and even aerosol. The NHS recommends applying a liberal amount, as too thin a layer won’t sufficiently protect.
You should allow time for the cream to dry before heading out into the sunshine, at least 20 minutes.
INTO THE SHADE
As soon as your baby can crawl, normally anytime from six months onwards, they will want to crawl around and play in the garden or any outdoors space you may take them to. Try to encourage resting in a nice sheltered area.
Always make sure to keep your little one in the shade during the particularly hot periods of the day between 11am-3pm.
If you’re unable to find an area shaded by trees or buildings, why not try an umbrella or canopy or even a small tent; you could even make your own tent with bed linen and garden furniture; kids will love the adventure! These little hacks will ensure that you have an area that is cool and safe for your little one to rest and play during the hot parts of the day.
If your baby isn’t moving around independently yet he or she should be happy to lie and wriggle in a shaded area such as the above.
If your tiny tot is walking or crawling, try and encourage him/her to sit and play in the shade as much as possible and keep his/her skin covered with clothing.
You can also keep your little one’s eyes protected with a pair of sunglasses; just make sure they have a strong level of UVA/UVB protection.
AFTER SUN CARE
It’s just as important to care for your little one’s skin and scalp after being in the sun, as well as protecting it beforehand. Why not try Colief Baby Scalp Oil (3 months +) for a soothing massage on your little one’s head at bath time? This caring oil is made with natural ingredients such as Rosehip Oil, Olive Oil and Chamomile which soothe and reduce redness or irritation. Originally developed as oil to fight symptoms of cradle cap, this multipurpose oil is great to use after your little one has been out in the sunshine all day, to calm and nourish the skin and scalp.
The current government advice in the UK is to offer a vitamin D supplement from birth.
Colief Vitamin D3 Drops is a natural supplement to ensure your family members are getting the right amount of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is vital for developing strong teeth and bones as well as building a healthy immune system and topping up the vitamin D levels in your baby and children will protect them from the more serious effects of deficiency, such as the childhood bone disorder, rickets.
Enjoy the sunshine safely with your family.