Summer is finally here! I know it’s been elusive all over Canada, with just the right amount of teasing to drive us insane. Summer is a wonderful time but comes with some safety concerns, just as winter does here in Canada.
The first of these concerns: the sun. A little sun is always great, but be careful not to overdo it, especially when your babes are quite little. The best way to keep your little ones protected from the sun is to avoid the peak times of the day – the sun’s rays are strongest between 11am and 4pm. If you have a toddler, that’s usually lunchtime and nap time so that works out nicely.
A few more sun tips:
For infants over 6 months, use a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays – bonus points for a sunscreen that isn’t full of a bunch of garbage. You can check the EWG rating for one that is free of junk ingredients.
Those sweet little one or two piece traditional swimsuits for girls (especially) are so cute but provide hardly any coverage and therefore sun protection. When kids are in and out of water, it’s hard to ensure that their sunscreen is always perfectly applied. Make sure they’re wearing a hat (ideally with a full brim) and a swimsuit that actually covers their skin.
Get in the shade! Our backyard has hardly ANY shade during the peak daytime hours so sometimes I had to create my own, although somewhat crude. I suggest something more sustainable than holding an umbrella. You can get swimming pools and outdoor toys with canopies on them. Don’t discount the value of the shade! What if you’re a sun goddess? Well I used to setup the blanket so half was in the shade and half was in the sun.
Stay hydrated! I’m looking at you, breastfeeding mamas! Keep in mind your little ones may be a bit thirstier than usual, may “ask” (demand) milk more often. It’s important to stay hydrated in the sun at the best of times, let alone when you have someone stealing all your liquids. Help your older children to stay by offering water often and making sure it is always nearby. We bought a Skip Hop Straw Bottle that my son loves the act of drinking out of and it helps him to get more water with less effort than his Wow Cup (although we still adore the Wow Cup). And psssst, if you’re out and your child drinks all the water you brought, or it was just one of those days and you forgot it, any coffee shop will happily oblige with some water for a little one.
Water table, backyard pool, splash pad, sprinklers… incorporate water play into your outdoor activities to help cool off. Never leave little ones unsupervised around water – I wrote a whole blog post on this and you can find it here.
Lots of homes around the country don’t have air conditioning (I’m looking at you, Alberta!) because the need for it is so slight that it is an unnecessary cost to the homeowners. So what to do when it’s hot inside and hot outside? Well that’s a dilemma indeed! You can try going to a movie, depending on the age of your kids – perhaps the “Stars and Strollers” afternoon movies would be best. Go to the mall, indoor play places or run a few errands in air conditioned stores.