Our health visitors and school nurses look after children, young people and their families throughout the year, and with the summer season upon and temperatures rising, we want families to stay safe outdoors whilst having fun.
So to help, here are some useful tips to help protect your little ones and children:
– from sun safety and staying hydrated to keeping safe at barbecues.
- babies aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight – their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun.
- cover babies and children up with suitable clothing.
- spend time in the shade, particularly from 11.00am to 3.00pm.
- wear at least SPF30 sunscreen. Always check expiry dates on sunscreen bottles; if it is out of date, it won’t be effective.
- apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.
We know the sun gives you the best free source of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. We also need vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet – these minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
As it is extremely important to keep your child’s skin safe in the sun, so to ensure they get enough vitamin D, it is recommended that all children under five years take vitamin D supplements. A lack of vitamin D can cause bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to bone deformities. You can read more about these supplements on the NHS website – www.nhs.uk.
Let’s talk about the importance of staying hydrated…when it is hot, we all need more fluids. Many people get dehydrated by not drinking enough fluid or by losing fluids and not replacing them. Anyone can become dehydrated, but babies, children and the elderly are most at risk. Encourage little ones to drink regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Water is best. Adults are advised to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee as these drinks make dehydration worse. For more information about dehydration please visit the NHS website – www.nhs.uk
The summer months are also a great time to enjoy a barbecue with family and friends safely. If you are attending a barbeque or are inviting people to one, please stay safe by visiting the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website – www.rospa.com. Here you will find lots of advice and information on how enjoy barbecues safely whilst having lots of fun.