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Keeping Your Beach Baby Safe

Jun 5, 2008
Even in the UK, the sun is strong enough to burn our skin and between the months of April to September, babies should not be outside without sun protection. It is also recommended that babies under the age of 12 months are keep away from strong sunlight, if possible, in the shade.

Because of the delicate nature of babies skin, they may only be exposed to the sunshine for as little as 10 to 15 minutes before they start to burn. Babies can even get burned when it doesn't even look sunny, on cloudy and cool days, as it is actually the invisible UV light which burns the skin and not necessarily bright sunlight.

If your baby does get sunburnt, ensure they are given plenty of fluids such as breast milk or formula if aged under 6 months old, or water if over 6 months. This is essential to prevent dehydration. If your child's skin is red and visibly burned, soak a flannel, soft cloth or muslin in cool water and gently place on the burned area for approximately 10 minutes at a time, several times a day to cool and soothe the skin.

It is also worth bathing your child in a luke warm bath. If they are in pain, then liquid paracetamol such as Calpol can be offered as per the directions on the box.

If the burn is very bad apply a water-based moisturising lotion, natural aloe vera gel or calamine lotion to relieve and soothe the area.

If your child has been sunburned it is perfectly normal for their skin to peel a few days after the exposure to the sun. This is an essential part of the healing process and a child should not be exposed to further direct sunlight whilst their skin is trying to heal.
You can protect your baby from the sun in many different ways through clothing, hats, sunglasses, parasols, UV tents but perhaps most importantly by applying a sunscreen to their skin.

For babies and children a sun lotion with a high SPF of at least 50 should be used. It is important to buy new sun lotion each year as it does have a shelf life. Lotion should be water resistant and applied to your child's skin approximately 20 minutes before they go outside. It should be re-applied during the day and at least every two hours if at the beach.

When trying a new sunscreen, do a patch test first to make sure your child doesn't have a reaction to it. If he does develop a rash or redness at the test site, choose a hypoallergenic formula instead.

Sun lotion cannot be relied upon by itself. At the hottest time of day, between 11-3pm babies and children should not directly exposed to the sun at all, as this is when the sun's rays are at their strongest. They should also wear cotton t-shirts and light weight trousers such as linen, to cover their vulnerable skin. If you have a young child with a pushchair it is a good idea to have a parasol fitted to offer some shade from the sun.

Also offer the child UV protected sunglasses. These are even available with bands which can be secured around a baby's head to keep them on. At the beach, it is also a good idea to use a large sun parasol, canopy or a pop-up baby tent which filters out UV rays.
It is also important to ensure babies are wearing a sunhat to protect their delicate heads.
About the Author
An article by Scott Demaret on Baby Gifts and
Organic Cotton Sunhats
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