Whitsun weekend may not bring exactly the weather you’re hoping for (unless you like cool and cloudy), but here is hoping that a summer of long sunny days is approaching and with it the need to protect our children’s delicate and precious skin. It is possible to enjoy summer and create gorgeous memories without putting them at risk.
Here are the five most important weapons in my Sun Safe arsenal.
1. Solar Buddies
High-factor sun cream is an aåbsolute must in summer but even though I put it on in the morning, I worry that it has worn off by lunch time. Enter Solar Buddies – a brilliant new product developed by mums who wanted their kids to be able to apply their own sun cream at school. It’s refillable so you can use your choice of cream, and because it’s been designed with small hands in mind you won’t have to worry about them not being able to put it on correctly.
2. Sun Cream
Did you know that sun cream loses its effectiveness over time? I tend to get through a bottle a year anyway, but the NHS recommends storing it somewhere cool and dark and replacing it every two to three years. Advice from the British Skin Foundation is to keep children out of direct sunlight and use a broad spectrum sun cream that is at least SPF30 and has been applied 20 minutes before going outside. One of my favourites is Boots’ Soltan Baby Cream SPF50+ which is hypoallergenic and unscented. My friend’s son suffers from eczema and she swears by Jason Sunbrellas Kids Natural Sunblock SPF45 for her family.
This is a great post from Space in my Case to help with the battles that will undoubedly occur when you have to put the cream on….
3. Shade Sails
Long used in Australia and New Zealand, shade sails are a stylish way of providing your kids with a shaded area to play. They come in a range of sizes and colours from garden centres like Primrose, and you can also get waterproof and portable ones for family days out. I’m seriously considering creating a shaded sandpit like these ones from Better Together (http://wraysist3rs.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/beach-in-backyard.html) and Better Homes and Gardens (http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/diy/how-to/h/-/16449355/how-to-make-a-sandpit/)
Sunsuits are more effective at protecting your child from sunburn than cotton clothing as the fabric has a tighter weave that blocks more harmful rays. Look for a sunsuit which has a high UPF protection, such as the ones at JoJo Maman Bebe which are 50+, and which conforms to British Safety Standards *sorry I know that bit is boring, but….*. Pair it with a cute matching flap sun hat to shade their face, ears, and neck.
Overexposure to UV rays in childhood can lead to eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts later in life. Children are also susceptible to retinal damage. You can buy glasses with 100% UV protection from places like Asda and Tesco, though for babies and toddlers it’s worth spending a little more on styles like Baby Banz, which have shatter resistant lenses and a neoprene band to help stop them slipping off.
As we all know, it isn’t always possible or practical to adhere to the official advice of avoiding direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and 2pm, but using these five things will ensure your child gets a good level of protection short of staying inside. Remember to give them regular drinks of cold water as well, to help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Do check the suncream you have as well, so you know when you need to re-apply it.
Do you have any practical tips for the sunshine? I am just hoping that we actually get to see it sometime soon!