Updated: May 7, 2022
Unsure which factor sun cream you should use? Not sure what your little one should wear to bed during the warmer weather? Read on for my Top Tips on keeping your little one safe and well during the hot weather.
Keeping safe in the sun
It is recommended that babies under 6 months are kept out of direct sunlight, due to not having enough melanin which is needed to help give some protection from the sun.
Easy ways to do this are by using a sunshade on the pushchair and car windows, and keeping them in the shade when outside. If you are at the beach use an umbrella for shade or I would highly recommend that you invest in a UV tent.
DO NOT COVER YOUR BABY'S PRAM! - Using a muslin cloth or blanket to cover the pram or pushchair will restrict air from flowing around your baby, and like in a hot car, will cause the temperature to rise very quickly.
Always use a recommended sunshade, like these from Snoozeshade, and keep checking the pram regularly to ensure your little one is not too hot. I highly recommend a Snoozeshade, which blocks out harmful UV rays and 94% of light, so great for napping on the go.
For older babies and toddlers it is recommended that you use at least a factor 30 sun cream with a high UV rating and it is also recommended that you regularly apply it, especially after being in water.
The sun creams marketed for babies and children tend to be gentler on the skin but, as long as the cream you are using is at least factor 30 and has the highest UV rating it doesn't matter. I would advise testing a small amount on your child's skin to check for reactions though.
Ideally, you should keep older babies and toddlers out of the sun between 11am and 3pm in the summer. This is the hottest time of the day and when the sun is at its strongest.
As difficult as it may be for your little one to keep a hat on, it is important they wear one, so keep persevering.
It is really important that like adults, babies and children do not get dehydrated so they need to drink plenty of fluids.
Exclusively breastfed babies between 0-6 months do not need any water until they begin weaning, however, you may find that they want to feed more than usual. For bottle fed babies, you can offer cooled boiled water as well as their usual feeds.
From weaning stage onwards (around 6 months) all babies should be offered water at meal times but, do keep offering water throughout the day too, particularly during hot weather.
If your little one isn't great at drinking water you can offer them plenty of foods with a high water content like watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes. Ice lollies are also a great way of getting fluids into them. I would recommend making your own using very diluted fruit juice or squash and water but if you can't, find lollies that have the least amount of sugar in them to avoid teeth decay.
What to wear
Inside, a general rule of thumb would be to look at what you are wearing and dress your baby the same. A short romper suit or just a vest is usually fine or, on a very hot day just a nappy. For older babies and children shorts and t-shirt or cotton rich dresses are ideal.
Outside, all babies and children benefit from light coloured, cotton rich clothing which gives good coverage for keeping cool, so bare this in mind when purchasing their summer wardrobe. It is important though, not to over dress them and to make sure that they wear a hat.
At night time, again it is important not to over dress. Try and keep the room as cool as possible, ideally between 16C and 20C and use the following as a guide:
27+ degrees: A short sleeve vest or just a nappy
24-27 degrees: A short sleeve vest and a 0.5 tog sleeping bag
21-23 degrees: A short or long sleeve vest and a 1 tog sleeping bag
17-20 degrees: A sleep suit and 2.5 tog sleeping bag
Below 16 degrees: A long sleeve vest, sleep suit and a 2.5 tog sleeping bag
Room thermometers are readily available to help you if you are unsure.
Probably the most fun way of keeping cool is to get out the paddling pool. For babies I would recommend putting the pool in the shade.
For toddlers and older children I highly recommend Sunsfafe suits, hats and rash vests which not only give your little one more coverage but also give great UV protection. These are particularly useful for holidays.
A cool bath or shower before bed will also help keep your little one cool as will keeping blinds and curtains shut during the daytime and using a fan or air con unit.
If you require any further help or advice, please get in touch