Summer is a great time for all the family to enjoy the great outdoors. But warmer weather and strong sunlight bring health risks, especially for babies and young children. Take a look at our tips to help you and your family stay safe and beat the heat this summer.
Covering up with suitable clothing and sunglasses can protect skin and eyes from dangerous burning.
Make sure your child wears a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun.
Sunglasses can also help prevent the eyes against dangerous UV radiation in strong sunlight. Children’s eyes are at higher risk from UV radiation than adults.
If you’re struggling to encourage to your child to let you put on sunscreen or wear a hat this video may help.
Protect your child from sunburn in sunny weather by applying sunscreen with factor 30 SPF or higher.
Sunburn is red, hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. You can treat it yourself. It usually gets better within 7 days. Repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer in later life if unprotected.
Babies and children have more sensitive skin than adults, so you need to be particularly careful to make sure their skin does not burn. To protect against sunburn:
- Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.
- Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.
- Make sure the sunscreen is at least 30 SPF. Lower SPF sunscreen will not give your child’s skin the protection it needs.
- Make sure the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply the suncream regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or paddling pool. It needs to be applied before going out into the sun to allow time for it to soak into the skin.
Find out more about sunscreen and sun safety, and the do’s and don’ts of sunburn from the NHS.
The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. Find some shade at these times to stay safe in hot weather.
Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight at all times. Older babies should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible If you go out when it's hot, attach a parasol or sunshade to your baby's pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight.
Keep your child's bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains. You can also use a fan to circulate the air in the room.
Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum. If your baby kicks or pushes off the covers during the night, consider putting them in just a nappy with a single well-secured sheet that will not work loose and cover their face or get entangled during the night.
A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby's room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C and 20C.
Exposure to direct sunlight and hot temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Find out more about these conditions and how to treat them from the NHS.
If you open windows to keep your home cool during hot weather, remember to follow our window safety advice.
Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Fully breastfed babies do not need to drink water until they've started eating solid foods. During hot weather they may want to breastfeed more than usual.
If you're bottle feeding, you can give your baby a little cooled boiled water in addition to their usual milk feeds. If your baby wakes at night, they'll probably want milk. If they have had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well.
Once they are over 12 months old, water, breast milk or whole cows' milk should be your baby's main drinks. In hot weather, you can try giving them frozen lollies made from plain water or from very diluted fruit juice to help keep them hydrated. Lollies made from diluted fruit juice should only be given at mealtimes because they can cause tooth decay.
For older children, give them plenty of fruit and salad to help keep their fluid levels up. Remember that undiluted fruit juice or smoothies should not be given to children until they are 5 years old.
Find out more about the importance of hydration from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Every day one child below the age of five is admitted to hospital after falling from an open window or a balcony.
Toddlers and children can, and too often do, fall from windows or from balconies and suffer serious injuries. Last summer – due to the hot weather and the lockdown – this increased. But with people being encouraged to ventilate their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will continue to be a risk throughout winter.
Climbing and exploring is a key part of a child’s physical development as they get stronger, more agile and more curious. However, many falls happen because parents are unaware of their child’s newly acquired abilities. Children can’t be supervised all of the time, but with some simple adjustments serious falls can be avoided.
Tips for staying safe:
- Teach children to play at a safe distance from windows.
- Keep furniture or items that can be climbed on, such as beds and sofas, away from windows. Make sure nothing can be pushed up to the window and used as a step.
- Keep windows closed and locked when not needed or when children are not being supervised.
- Keep windows no more than four inches open when children are in the room.
- Ask about window safety when you visit other homes.
- Make sure you are aware of where windows keys are located in the event of a fire.
- Do not put heavy or sharp items on window sills where they could fall.
- Ensure any ropes or cords on blinds or curtains are kept out of the reach of children.
Do you live in a tall building? Check your window restrictors
All homes in taller buildings should have window restrictors or limiters fitted. These stop windows being opened more than a small amount to prevent incidents.
If you live in a taller building:
- Ensure your windows have restrictors or limiters in place and working correctly.
- Do not remove or tamper with your windows for any reason. They have been installed for your safety.
- Do not allow children to open windows or show them how to operate restrictors or limiters.
If you do not have window restrictors fitted, please contact your housing provider, or Tower Hamlets Council. If you live in a Council property, please contact Tower Hamlets Homes on Contactus@thh.org.uk