The summer is undoubtedly a testing time for any parent. While it’s great to see your child spending time exploring the great outdoors, it’s fair to say the sudden rise in temperature brings with it a unique set of challenges.
My little one, in particular, seems to be in the wars at this time of the year. The sudden rush of adrenaline he seems to get from playing outdoors quickly fades away thanks to the zapping heat. If I don’t keep my eyes peeled on him at all times, he’s an accident waiting to happen.
The good news, however, is that there are a number of preliminary steps that I’ve learnt to take over the years that have helped make the season much less stressful.
To help your little ones avoid any seasonal mishaps, I’ve brought together five of the most important things to take into consideration during the summer, below:
Loose Fitting Clothes
To make sure your child is comfortable in the higher summer temperatures, try to dress them in loose-fitting clothing. Ideally, choose a fabric that allows air to circulate in and out of the material such as cotton.
It’s also advisable to stay away from sun-absorbing colours such as blacks and browns, especially if you know you’re going to be in the sun at some point during the day.
Hats and Glasses
It almost goes without saying, but hats and glasses are must at this time of year. Without them, your child could become sunburnt or develop a heat rash.
If your child is anything like mine, you might struggle to keep a hat on their head, especially when you first place it there. I find the best approach in this situation is to offer your toddler the choice of two hats so that they feel like they’re in control.
Also, you could try placing some sort of band around the hat or sunglasses so that they don’t find it quite as easy to knock off their head.
In the worst-case scenario that they refuse to wear a hat, make sure you smother them in sunscreen. Sure, your little one might look like they haven’t had a wash for a few days, but at least they’re protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen
Speaking of sunscreen, make sure you always keep plenty around the house during the summer time, as you’re likely to go through it as fast as a bottle of wine!
Choose a sunscreen with a minimum of factor 15, although generally speaking, the higher the factor, the better.
I’ll admit that putting sunscreen on my child’s face is usually the last thing I do before I leave the house, but it’s actually much better to try and apply it 30 minutes before any sun exposure. This allows time for the mixture to bind with your child’s skin.
Different Rules for Babies Six Months and Under?
Babies under the age of six months naturally have thinner skin, which can lead to them absorbing more of the chemicals that are found in sunscreen than an adult would. One of the common chemicals found in sunscreen, oxybenzone, was claimed by The Environmental Working Group to damage hormone function and cause allergic reactions in severe cases.
To make matters slightly more confusing for us mothers, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Paediatrics countered those claims, saying that they had found no such evidence to suggest that using small amounts of sunscreen on a young baby’s skin caused any long-term harm to their health.
So what should we do? While we’d obviously like to keep our young ones out of the sunlight as much as possible during the summer months, sometimes it’s not possible. Therefore, I’d recommend applying small amounts of sunscreen to cover parts of your toddler’s skin that aren’t covered by their clothing.
Safety-Proof the Garden
After my child took a tumble down our small garden steps, my partner decided to build a covering ramp using some MDF that he had brought from the local hardware store. It was at that point I realised that there are a number of small, inexpensive measures we could take to try and make our garden safer for our child.
A good starting point is to move any potentially dangerous gardening products, such as shears or weed killer, out of reach.
While it’s unlikely that your toddler will try to eat anything in your garden, some naturally like to place things in their mouths, so try to make sure that you don’t have any poisonous plants.
If your child has a sandbox or a swing set in one particular part of the garden, try to ensure it has adequate shade throughout the day. A shade sail, which can cost as little as $10, is a great way of keeping them cool without breaking the bank.
The 2-Minute Action Plan for Fine Parents
- Organize their clothes so that it’s easy to pick and choose appropriate summer wear.
- Try to commit to putting on sunscreen after they have dried off after their shower or bath in the morning. If they wash in the evening, apply the sunscreen when they first wake up.
- Take a quick walk around your garden to see if there are any areas that you feel could be made safer with a quick and simple solution.