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​Stay safe in the heat

We've been waiting for the sun for months and finally glimpsed its glorious rays. But remember – you need to stay safe in the heat and protect young children as temperatures rise.

Lambeth GP Dr Adrian McLachlan said: "Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. There are lots of ways to make sure you are protected but it's important to look out for the people who are most vulnerable. The health of the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses can be seriously affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and sunburn."

General tips for everyone to be sun safe are:

  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • wear sunscreen and reapply regularly
  • wear loose cotton clothing
  • drink lots of cool drinks to stay hydrated
  • seek shade
  • wear sunglasses and a hat
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

For babies - keep them out of the sun as much as possible, especially when the sun is at its strongest. If you do go out on a hot day, attach a parasol or sunshade to the pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight. You and your baby should both drink plenty of fluids so you don't get dehydrated.  If you're breastfeeding your baby, you don't need to give them water as well as breast milk. However, they may want to breastfeed a little more than usual. If you're bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day. If your baby wakes at night, they'll probably want milk but if they've had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well. 

For all babies and children, the best protection is cool clothing and a sunhat, preferably one with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect the back of the neck.   It's also important to apply high factor suncream to exposed skin. Many brands are formulated specifically, offering a total sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 plus. Apply the suncream regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or a paddling pool. 

If you have any health concerns for yourself or for someone you know, please contact your GP or pharmacist. You can get more information on staying safe this summer on the NHS Choices website