Tips to keep babies and toddlers sun safe this summer
We love being outdoors and having fun family times in the backyard, at the beach or over the road at the park.
But did you know that New Zealand has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world? It's so important to be sun-safe and it's easy to to protect yourselves and your kids from the UV rays known to cause skin cancer including melanoma.
Sun-Safety Top 5
Because the highest risk from sun exposure happens in childhood our tips are written with little ones in mind but the tips apply to adults too. Remember that funny ad years ago with the Dad who turns into a Lobster? Don't be that guy!!
Cover up or ideally stay in the shade between 11am and 4pm when the UV rays are at their strongest.
You can still get burnt on a cloudy day! 80% of UV rays penetrate through cloud and you should cover up, use sunscreen and stay in the shade - just as you would if it was a blue sky day. You can also get sun burnt through clothing. As light colours and thin weave cottons are the worst fabrics for sun protection, choose UV protective clothing or other tightly woven fabrics.
Put sunscreen on 15 minutes before heading out into the sun and reapply at least every 2 hours on any skin that remains uncovered make sure you apply a thick layer of sunscreen and reapply it after swimming and towel drying.
Use a sunscreen with at least a SPF30+ factor with both UVB and UVA protection
Buy sunscreen in large bottles if you can and dispense into smaller bottles and stash them everywhere (baby bag, kindy or daycare bag, the car, grandparents house etc)
Get into the habit of applying sunscreen as part of your morning routine, just like brushing your teeth - kids like routine and are less likely to fuss if they know what is coming.
Wear a hat (and sunnies). It's not rocket science but the amount of times we see babies and kids out and about without hats on is amazing. Caps are cute but the best choice is one with a brim that protects the ears and neck as well as the face.
Belly Beyond Toddler Tip: If your little one refuses to wear a hat and finds it far more amusing to throw it off and have you pick it up for them, then get a hat with a tie neck. Have a favourite toy or snack ready and while putting the hat on distract them with it and tighten the tie. If that fails, use superglue (kidding!)
Use stroller covers. UPF50+ covers are a great way to keep babies and toddlers cool and protected from the sun.