How to stay safe in the sun

The Young Londoner has made a short list of things we can do to stay safe while still having fun in the sun.

Summer is here with its many exciting things to do in the great London outdoors with children. For young Londoners that means more time at festivals, kicking a ball in the park or visiting a city farm. While it’s great to make the most of the warm and sunny weather, it’s crucial to avoid the sun’s harmful rays and protect the little ones’ sensitive skin from sun burns.

Wear sunscreen. 

We keep a bottle of sunscreen cream in our bags at all times. We also make sure we apply sunscreen before heading outside and remember to reapply it every couple of hours to make sure it stays effective (especially if you are having a splash in one of London’s many fountains). Those with fair skin may have to apply sunscreen more frequently, and should choose one with a higher SPF. Use the sunscreen with highest possible SPF of at least 30 to prevent the damaging effects from the sun’s UV rays and remember to also apply it to lips, ears, hands, feet and scalp.

Cover up. 

It’s important to cover up any exposed skin if you plan to be in the sun for extended amounts of time. If possible, get the children to wear long sleeves, pants and a hat or try to spend the bulk of outdoor time in the shade. Get them to wear sunglasses if possible as the UV rays can also impact negatively on a child’s vision. Sun glasses with 99-100 UV protection can help protect from sun glare of sand, water or any other shiny surfaces.

Limit your time in the sun. 

UV rays are the most intense and harmful to your body between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Try to avoid being in the sun for longer periods of time between those hours. Spending long hours in the sun can increase you and your loved ones chances of sunburn and sun poisoning.  If you need to be out during those hours, make sure to spend some time in the shade and be prepared with a hat, sunscreen and water.

Stay hydrated. 

Always carry water with you and make sure children drink plenty of water when you are in the sun for long periods of time. Active children dehydrate whilst playing outdoors and the additional heat of direct sunlight can make them sweat and become dehydrated so make sure they have regular drinks. When you’re hydrated, it’s easier for your heart to pump blood to your muscles.

Use one of the free drinking water fountains available in busy parts of the city to keep your bottles refilled. The Mayor of London encourages London’s many restaurants, cafes and businesses to offer free refills and drinking water fountains – making it easier for Londoners and visitors to the capital to refill on the go. A map of fountain locations is available here.  

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