As we are shaking off the torpor of winter, we are all tempted to run outside at the first signs of a warm, sunny day! Of course, this year, the various lockdowns and social isolation guidelines have made it a little trickier to enjoy the weekends outdoors. However, the lucky families that have a large garden to enjoy might be spending their entire days soaking in the sunlight.
BBQs, picnics, and general family fun can be a great way to keep your mind off the quarantine and strengthen the bond with your kids. But there is something that you should keep in mind! It might be the excitement of this unique moment of the year, or it might just be that we forget about how intense the sun can be in Spring, but it is most likely for kids and adults to suffer from sunburn during these months. Here is what you need to know to care for your little ones while outdoors!
- Pick the right sunscreen
There might have been times when you just picked the cheapest sunscreen on the shelf. However, times have changed, and sunscreens have too! Now you have to care for the more delicate skin of your little ones and, knowing what you are rubbing on their face is essential. Unlike chemical-based creams, which can be dangerous for your baby’s health, mineral sunscreen will sit on top of your baby’s skin and reflect sun rays, avoiding absorption. While picking a sunscreen for your little ones, you should opt for a kids-friendly type that protects at least SPF30.
- Dress your kids in light cotton clothes
Protective clothing is just as important as picking the right sunscreen when it comes down to the safety of your kids. Of course, using tightly woven garments and fabrics can protect their skin from skin-damaging rays. However, trousers and jackets that are too heavy can have counterproductive effects and lead to a mild heat stroke or exhaustion. Instead, you should dress your kids in light clothes made of breathable fabric, such as cotton, linen, or natural materials. Alternatively, avoid items of clothing made of nylon and polyester.
- Keep your boys and girls hydrated
As soon as you open your windows and allow your kids to play freely in the garden, there is no doubt that they will run and play tirelessly for hours! Seeing their little ones having fun with each other and building imaginary castles is a joy for every parent. However, the exercise and increasing temperatures can lead them to dehydration within short timeframes. And, unlike adults, they are not bound to stop running, recognize their thirst, and let you know. As it is our duty, as parents, to keep them healthy, it is essential to provide enough water, juices, fruits, and vegetables during the day. While you should avoid serving sports drinks and vitamin water to your little ones, you can make their beverages more appealing by adding fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, raspberries, lemon, or watermelon.
- Play in the shade during the hottest hours
Studies have found that Spring is the season of the year when we are the most likely to suffer from sunburn. With such tepid sunrays, we might not realize that the intensity of the sun increases more rapidly than the perceived temperatures and, with it, the UV rays. Hence why, even if it does not feel that hot out there, we should not discard the possibility of sunburn. It is recommendable to keep your children, especially the youngest ones, in the shade or inside during the day’s hottest hours. Indeed, between 10 am and 2 pm, you should propose calmer games that allow your kids to restock on minerals, water, and energy lost while outdoors playing time.
- Babies should stay away from direct sunlight!
While sunscreen might be a working solution for your older kids, babies younger than six months old should avoid any exposure to sunlight. In this case, you should keep in mind that sun rays – and with the UV rays – bounce off surrounding surfaces and can still cause sunburn. Toddlers, with such delicate skin, are susceptible to sun exposure and can suffer the long-term effects of sunburn and heatstroke. To ensure you are keeping them safe, add covers and umbrellas to the stroller every time you take a walk outdoors. While in your garden, keep your baby in spots entirely protected from the elements.
- Avoid DEET-based repellents
Another issue that is crawling up during these warm spring evenings is flies and bugs. Before spraying your kids with the insect repellant that you would typically use, you should know that their skin might react in a different way than ours. A concentration of 10% to 30% of DEET might be useful for adults, but overwhelming for kids. Instead, you could opt for more natural solutions such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. If you prefer to use DEET-based repellents, ensure that you are only applying them once a day and away from hands and face.
- Nets are a family’s best friend
If you are concerned about how to protect your family from bugs without having to spray your younger ones with DEET-based products, opt for nets. You can install different ones in the bedroom or on the porch, which can help you keep your kids naturally safe. Adding mosquito nets is also an excellent option for the youngest toddlers as they won’t need to suffer from exposure to chemicals. During your evenings outdoor, you can equip your garden with an outside mosquito net so that the fun can continue uninterrupted!
It’s Spring, have fun!
While all these precautions might seem a bit much at first, they are essential guidelines to follow to make the best out of the spring months. While keeping your kids safe, don’t forget that exercise, family time, and outdoor adventures are crucial for their well being. Lastly, mild exposure to sun and fresh air can encourage the production of Vitamin D as well as bone and muscle strengthening. There is nothing better than a day among nature!