I recall my first holiday abroad with my son, it was towards the end of my maternity leave and it was a little piece of heaven! Quality family time away from washing, cooking and cleaning – a holiday with a baby is something that I would recommend highly. For some parents plane journeys can be a cause for concern, but within a few hours you will be relaxing in the sunshine and it will all be worthwhile. A question I am often asked is – how to keep babies safe in the sun? Here are my top tips.
Dress your baby in appropriate clothing
Lightweight cotton romper suits or ‘shorties’ are ideal for during the day and similarly at night time. Buy bright colour clothing as dark colours hold the heat. Bring a few hats, ( preferably with a flap that covers the back of their neck ) with you as inevitably you will loose one, similarly with sunglasses! Invest in swimwear with UV protection built in, these are a Godsend at the pool and give you peace of mind in case you may have missed a spot when applying sunscreen.
Always apply sunscreen
Babies can still get sun in the shade so it is important to put on sunscreen every day while abroad. Before you travel try sunscreen on your baby to ensure he does not get a small skin rash. If this happens abroad you may think he has been sunburnt and it avoids any panic setting in! Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, most of the dedicated children’s creams will have this. Some creams are easier to apply than others, test them in the pharmacy before buying and remember most babies won’t like the spray type. When you are away, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply regularly, especially after being in water. Make sure you put cream on the back of your babies neck, ears and feet – you need to ensure everywhere is covered.
Make use of some of the gadgets available.
Bring a sun shade to attach to the buggy, these can be a great help if you are trying to get your baby to have a nap while you are out, many have UV protection built in. A sun tent is also handy if you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach. There are numerous free downloadable apps such as the Wolfram Reference App which will give UV forecasts for your location and tell you the peak times of the day that the UV rays are at their highest. Although the general rule is ‘avoid midday sun’ there are times when 11 am may have a higher UV index than midday.
Keep your baby cool.
Where possible select an apartment/hotel that has air conditioning. If hiring a car, hire a white or light coloured car, dark cars hold the heat more. If this is not possible, buy a reflector for the windscreen, you can usually pick these up fairly cheaply in a local supermarket.
Drink plenty of water.
This goes for all of us but especially for babies or young children. Warm weather can be dehydrating so drink as much water as possible.