Keep you child cool in the sun

Joanne Fenna
29 June 18

Keep you child cool in the sun

These last few weeks have felt like a real summer for us Brits.  Endless days of sun means we can actually plan things like going to the beach, having BBQs and making use of the paddling pool but don’t forget your little ones can’t tell you if they are too hot and its so important to keep your child cool in the sun.

Know the symptoms

If we are too hot we can take ourselves inside or get a drink but your baby can’t so its important to learn the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Your baby may first show signs of heat exhaustion, which is milder. You may notice that he’s unusually thirsty or tired, or that his skin is cool and moist. If he’s old enough, he may complain of leg or stomach cramps.

If your baby’s heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, he may have any of the following symptoms:

  • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher – but no sweating
  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache (which may make him irritable)
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Lethargy (Your baby might not respond as strongly as usual when you call his name or tickle his skin, for example.)
  • Unconsciousness

How to cool your child down

If you suspect your child has heat stroke then you need to bring their internal body temperature down as quickly as possible.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and you need to act fast!

  • Call 999 for an ambulance
  • Undress your child and put them in the coolest room or place you can find
  • Sponge your child down with cool water and put a cold flannel on their forehead and back of the neck, or if you can put them under a cool shower
  • Fan your child with whatever you have to hand

How to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke

There are lots of ways of keeping your child cool in the sun.

  • Never leave your child in a car, even for a couple of minutes, the heat in a stationary car rises rapidly and heat stroke can occur within minutes
  • Never cover your babies pram with a blanket to keep them out of the shade.  Even though the blanket/cover protects your baby from the blazing sun, the heat is trapped inside the pram and has the same effect of inside of a stationary car.
    Here is a great idea for keeping the sun of your child’s face while letting the breeze get through. Use a fitted sheet over the handle and the back of the pram, which gives protection but lets cool air in at the same time – genius!
  • Keep your child hydrated.  A great way to do this is making homemade lolly ices (or if you are not from Liverpool – ice lollies!). Make the lollies with water and pack them full of fruit, add a little splash of cordial if your child prefers it – in this heat its more important to make sure they drink so if adding cordial helps then do whatever it takes.
    Image: Nurture Liverpool
  • Cover them up. Yes, we know getting your little tinkers to keep their hats on is actually harder than stopping their lolly ices from melting but the hat gives them protection for their skin, their eyes and keeps them cool. Give them one to play with and hopefully this might distract them from the hat they are wearing.
  • Protect their eyes and skin. If you can get your toddler to wear sunglasses (move straight to the top of the class of best behaved toddlers) but seriously it will protect their eyes from the glaring sun and UVA rays. 
    Suncream is an absolute must! So many of us still think sunscreen is for when we go abroad on holiday but actually sunscreen should really be used everyday, by everyone.
    SPF 50 should be used for babies and children but more importantly, check the UVA rating on the back of the bottle and aim for the full 5 star rating as it is the UVA which can cause problems later in life such as Melanoma skin cancer.
  • Dress your child in loose fitting clothes, ideally a light cotton or linen and avoid synthetic materials as much as possible.

Have fun in the sun

We don’t get many days like this so make the most of it and have fun in the sun. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is unlikely to happen if you follow the above so enjoy these lovely summer days with your little ones.