Monday, 8 July 2013

How-To: Sun Care For Little Ones.

Baby sun cream

I don't know about where you are but here in Edinburgh, the sun has finally decided to shine!

Anyone that's been around me on a sunny day will know just how obsessed with sun protection I am. Sun cream, sun hats, sunglasses and long sleeves - it looks like I'm on a mission to avoid a tan but really I'm just extremely cautious. My family knows all to well the devastating effects of melanoma and being so easily preventable, I'm determined to protect myself & John against sun damage in every way possible. Here's my top tips to being safe in the sun with your own little ones.

Avoidance is better than cure. The best protection available is to simply avoid sun exposure, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at it's hottest. And when out in the sun, to choose to sit in the shade as opposed to direct sunlight. But of course this isn't always possible - life goes on whatever the weather! Here's some further tips on how to protect your little one when the sunshine can't be avoided...

Slather on the Sun Cream. There seems to be a bit of debate on if /when a baby should be wearing sun cream, due to the ingredients possibly not agreeing with babies sensitive skin but in my opinion, as long as you go for a cream designed for babies & children (often using milder ingredients) then the pros of being protected outweigh the cons. It's recommended you use a minimum SPF15 but personally I wouldn't opt for anything under SPF50 for John (or myself for that matter) as I can feel confident he's getting the best protection. It's also important to check your sun creams UVA rating which should be at the very least 4 stars.
I also recommend you research how to apply sun cream correctly. All too often I see parents smear a small amount of cream across their little one, rubbing it in far too vigorously. If not applied correctly, you'll be sacrificing some of the protection sun cream can offer. Oh, and reapply often, regardless of your sun cream claiming to last all day. Here's a great video by the NHS on how to correctly apply sun cream.
(Tip: My personal favourite in baby & kids sun cream is Banana Boat who offer SPF100+ creams, sprays & lotions).

For goodness sake, cover them up! It's a very British thing to strip down the moment the sun comes out. Iain is forever teasing me for wearing jumpers & trousers when it's 20°C outside but I'd rather protect my skin than worry about getting a reasonable amount of wear from my one pair of shorts (not to mention I still feel the cold despite the warmer atmosphere). And the same goes for John - his summer wardrobe is nearly non-existence and what he does have consists of long sleeved tops and light weight trousers. The British weather is rarely hot enough to over heat and it's easier to remove an extra layer of clothes than it is to deal with a screaming little ones who's suffering from sunburn.

Sun Hats are essential. Not only will they protect your little ones face, ears & scalp from harmful rays, they'll also provide some shade from the sun. Sunglasses aren't always practical for little ones - in other words, they'll just pull them off! - but a sun hat can also offer a decent degree of protection for your little ones eyes, not to mention they'll be more comfortable not having to squint to see.

Are you careful in the sun? Or do you need to brush-up on your sun care habits? Why not share your own tips for safe sun exposure!

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