Summer is a fantastic season for toddlers. As the colder, rainy days finally draw to a close, the arrival of the hot, sunny days allows our little ones to get out into the sunshine and enjoy doing what toddlers do best – exploring the great outdoors.
However, before you let your toddler’s inner adventurer come out this summer, there’s a few safety tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
The changing temperatures alone can be a big adjustment for your child. So, if you’re looking to ensure they are safe, cool and comfortable on the upcoming hot and sunny days, below you’ll discover the top toddler summer safety tips to follow.
Protecting Your Toddler’s Skin
One of the most important summer safety tips you should follow is to ensure your toddler’s skin is protected against ultraviolet radiation. Now, you’ll typically find the best advice here is to:
- Limit sun exposure during peak times
- Ensure they are well-covered
- Use sunscreen, even on cloudy days
Let’s look at that first piece of advice – limiting your toddler’s exposure to the sun during peak times. This sounds simple enough until you realize that peak times are classed as 10am until 4pm. That’s practically the entire day! The key word to focus on here is “limit”. You don’t need to keep your toddler out of the sun until peak times are over. You just need to ensure they are adequately protected whilst they are in the sun and that their outdoor play sessions are kept short and sweet.
Ensuring they are adequately dressed will help with this. Try and find toddler sunglasses which protect your little one against both UVB and UVA rays. Ideally, you’ll also want ones that advertise 100% protection, though these can be difficult to find. A wide brim hat, or a hat with a long bill at the front will also protect your toddler’s scalp.
When it comes to sunscreen, make sure you’re choosing one that is toddler-friendly, at least SPF 15, and be sure to apply it even on cloudy days. It’s also important to reapply it approximately every 2 hours, and directly after swimming/water exposure.
It’s also good to remember that around sand and water, UV rays tend to reflect off them, posing a higher risk of sunburn. So, if your little one is playing in a sand pit, or near water, you’ll want to top their sunscreen up a little more frequently.
Be Aware Of And Prevent Heat Stress
Heat stress is something many parents have never even heard of, but it’s a very real threat to your toddler. At the moment, your little one isn’t capable of regulating their own temperature. This means, if they are exposed to extreme temperatures, it could prove fatal pretty quickly.
Whether your toddler is playing out in the hot sun, or you’re taking them out for the day in the car; there are a number of precautions you need to take to ensure their safety…
Clothing – Ensuring your toddler is wearing light clothing, both in weight and color, is important. Darker colors absorb the suns heat, causing the body to heat up much quicker than it would in light colored clothing.
Gradually Build Up Your Toddler’s Heat Exposure – You’ll also want to keep an eye on how active your little one is in the sun. Aim to build up their heat intensity gradually. So, when summer first arrives for example, allow them to play out in the sun for around 15-20 minute intervals.
Each day, or every few days, you can build up to allowing them to spend longer out in the heat. This will essentially help to acclimatize their bodies, reducing the risk of heat stroke.
Ensure They Are Hydrated – Heat stress becomes a real problem when the body is dehydrated. Before your toddler heads out to play, ensure they’ve had either water, or juice. If they’re really active in the hot summer heat, make sure they have a drink break approximately every 20 minutes.
These are the main tips to follow in order to help protect your toddler against heat stress. It’s best to use your own judgement too when it comes to how frequently to give your little one a drink. They may need one sooner than 20 minutes, so take into account the activity they’re doing and how hot it is and of course, ask them frequently if they’re thirsty.
Protecting Your Toddler From Insects
Summer doesn’t just bring danger in the form of the heat and UV rays. Insects can also pose a real problem.
After your little one has been outdoors, be sure to check their body for ticks. You may want to invest in a bug repellent, but if you do ensure it is safe to use on toddlers. Generally speaking, bug repellent which contains DEET is considered the most effective, but it should be concentrated below 30%. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before using any bug repellent on your toddler, just to be on the safe side.
It’s also worth pointing out that natural based bug repellents aren’t always safe for toddlers. These include products which use citronella or lemon eucalyptus.
So, what if you do find a tick on your toddler’s body? The best thing to do is to use tweezers to pull the tick out by its head. If you try to tweezer the body, the head could fall off and become embedded in your little one’s skin. Germs are only usually transferred to the body if the tick has been embedded for around 24 hours. You’ll need to contact your doctor or pediatrician if you think your toddler had the tick for this amount of time.
Overall, summer should be a season full of fun, laughter and outdoor exploration for your toddler. However, you do need to pay attention to the tips above to ensure they enjoy the hot summer days safely.
Do you have any tips of your own? Do us all a favor and share yours below – it’d really help us all out!