Think of sunshine and a lot people will immediately associate sunburn. That's a good start! It is a real risk for babies, whose skin is particularly delicate and not used to the sun's rays.
It's worth pointing out that I am not a doctor, although Mummy says I can be whatever I want when I grow up. These are my suggestions based on things I've read and my limited experience.
- Put sunscreen on all bits that will be exposed to the sun. Don't forget the bottom of our feet, which are vulnerable if we're in a pushchair and don't have shoes or socks on. If you've ever burnt your feet, you'll know how sore it is!
- Reapply sunscreen regularly, even if it's waterproof; it doesn't work so well when it's been washed or rubbed off!
- Don't be put off if we struggle - it's our job to make things tricky for you! Any crying in objection is nothing on the crying we can do if we get sunburn, believe me.
- You can get sunburnt through cloud - beware! Even if it's cloudy and/or windy, if we're outdoors for a significant time, slap the cream on.
- Keep us out of the sun around midday (between 11am and about 3pm). That might be just making sure we're out of direct sun rather than indoors, but remember that sun rays can deflect off other surfaces. Sand and concrete are worth taking particular note of, even when you're sitting in shade.
- Lightweight clothing is another option - long sleeves and trousers. A lot of materials carry a SPF (sun protection factor) rating on them, which are designed to protect from the sun without us overheating. We ought to be wearing at least SPF 30 creams or clothing.
- If you think your baby will wear sunglasses, go for it! The sun's UV (ultra violet) rays damage our eyes just as much as yours. I have 3 pairs now, but a very definite favourite - Daddy says I look like Elton John when I wear them. I don't know what he means.
Please don't get so caught up with sunscreen that you forget to give us a drink! Sunburn isn't the only hazard for babies during nice weather; we'll dehydrate really quickly when it's hot so make sure you keep offering us a drink.
It's also worth mentioning that some sun is good for all of us - it gives us really important Vitamin D - but we can get what we need in about 15 minutes in the early morning or late afternoon.
Have fun, whatever you're up to.