I want to start this off by clarifying that I am not complaining about the sun. It is glorious and yes, it’s a bit warm in the evenings, but if anyone complains you are going to make it pour rain again. So keep it to yourself! With the beautiful weather, there comes a few complications when it comes to little kids. But there’s plenty you can do to keep them cool and keep them safe in the summer sun.
1. Always make sure they are covered in sun cream. Don’t forget precious points like behind their ears and knees and the tops of hands and feet. For really little kids, I find it easier to put sun cream on while they are in their nappies and then dress them up once it has fully absorbed. Use a children’s sun cream of SPF 30 or higher and reapply sun cream every 2 hours. For more tips keeping kids safe in the sun, check out these tips from the Irish Cancer Society.
2. Loose fitting clothing, UV protective clothing (although this can be hard to find), hats and sunglasses are great for long days out in the sun. Legionaries hats or bucket hats with wide brims are best because they provide the most coverage. It may be a battle too keep the hat on at first, but don’t let your kids win. Ever.
3. Try to avoid the sun in the hottest part of the day (around 11-3) and pay attention to where shade may be in your yard or the playground at different parts of the day. I know that one half of my garden is completely shady after 3pm, so I’ll set up a really fun activity there to encourage them to stay out of the direct sun.
4. Get outside early in the morning. It’s usually cooler and the sun isn’t so strong. Kids can get plenty of fresh air and exhaust themselves running around just in time to come in for some quiet play indoors when the sun is strongest.
5. Remember that black lined buggies absorb heat. Make sure that the littlest ones are shaded from the sun, but don’t turn the buggy into an oven. Also be mindful that rain covers don’t become humid greenhouses.
6. Have plenty of water on hand all the time. Kids can become dehydrated very quickly. Make extra delicious water by putting fresh fruit into it (limes, cucumber, raspberries, oranges are all really yummy) or get a snazzy new water bottle just for summer.
8. Set up blanket forts, tents outside to give kids a place to retreat from the sun. Water play is obviously a great way to stay cool. If you don’t have a paddling pool or water table, you can use large plastic containers. Just make sure you always keep an eye on little ones whenever water is involved.
9. Cool overheated kids by placing ice or cold water on wrists, temples and the back of their neck.
10. If kids (or you) are having trouble sleeping in the heat, take a lukewarm bath or shower just before bed to regulate your body temperature. Switch bedding to light blankets, or if your kids are like mine, secretly remove the layers of fleece blankets they insist on as soon as they are asleep.
And if all else fails, just count on a big brother to drench a little brother when he’s least expecting.