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Keeping Kids Safe In The Sun

If you're looking forward to this year's holiday in the sun, you're not alone! After the miserable April we've just had, everyone could do with a bit of warmth and relaxation on the beach, and now's the ideal time to start thinking about baby clothing and kids' swimwear to take on holiday with you. It's tempting to spend all day long enjoying the glorious weather, but bear in mind that young children's skin can be sensitive to the sunlight, so it's important to get clothing that will provide a bit of UV protection.

Babies and infants should be kept out of direct sun completely - it's best to keep them under the parasol if you're having a day on the beach. This might not always be possible, so make sure they have hats and sunglasses along with good sunscreen (at least SPF 30) when they're spending time outdoors, and make sure they understand why too much fun in the sun can be bad for them!

Many clothing manufacturers in the UK have started to put sun protection factor ratings on children's clothes, which can help you to make the right decision when buying for the holidays. Cotton clothing with a close weave provides more protection than thinner materials, and hats should be wide-brimmed to create a shadow over the back of the neck, which burns easily. Sunglasses should also have a sticker confirming that they provide UV protection - it's well worth buying high-quality sunglasses

Don't forget that SPF ratings may also vary from country to country - for instance, in the US SPF numbers are usually twice as high as in Europe, so an American factor 8 will only provide the same protection as a European factor 4. Reapply sunscreen several times a day, especially after bathing in the sea, and keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest.

If your child does get sunburn, it's important to consult a doctor as soon as possible, especially if any blisters or a rash appear. Immediately take them out of the sun and apply tepid water to the burn. A pharmacist will be able to advise about aftersun products, which will help to cool and remoisturise the skin. For more information, take a look at Cancer Research UK's Sunsmart campaign, which offers advice on skin types and spotting danger signs early.

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