There is a constant public health message that we must protect ourselves from the harmful damage that the sun can cause, but more importantly, we must look after our children in the sun! We still have a limited understanding of long term damage that can be caused short term exposure to the sun, but increasingly it is believed that a single episode of sunburn during childhood could lead to skin cancer in later life. It is essential, therefore, that you look after children when they play out in the sun, especially when on holiday to hotter parts of the world. You must also ensure that anyone else looking after your children, at nursery, with a childminder, or at school, also looks after their health.
What precautions should you take to protect your children in the sun?
- Apply sun screen with a sun protection factor of at least 50
- Re-apply sun cream throughout the day at two hourly intervals
- Re-apply sun cream after being in water, even if the cream states that it is water resistant
- Make sure your child's body is clean before applying sun cream, rub off any sand particularly before applying lotion
- Have the children wear sun hats, make sure that the backs of necks are covered too
- Avoid being in the sun altogether during the hottest parts of the day
- Create your own shade to sit in on the beach or in other exposed places
- Wear clothes with a stated sun protection factor
- In really hot places, keep t-shirts and hats on when swimming or playing in water
Be aware that sun cream is NOT recommended for babies under 6 months because their skin is delicate and very thin. Chemicals in sun block may actually harm the skin of a baby. Instead, make sure that they are protected by clothing and keep them in a shaded place, out of the sun.
It's freezing cold and we are told it's going to get worse, but you can't close your front door and stay inside no matter how much you want to! Children have to get to childcare, nursery, school and you need to brave the cold weather even if you (and your kids!) don't want to. Here are a few tips to make it that bit more bearable!
Wear a hat: most of your body's warmth will be lost by heat escaping through the top of your head.
Mittens: mittens are preferrable for children as they are warmer than gloves.
Warm drinks: a nice cup of hot (or warm) chocolate can be very satisfying. Try to tempt your little ones to warm up with a warm drink when they get home.
Scarf: around the neck and chest, flat against the body under the coat and another one, if you think they need it, around the back of their neck and across their face and cheeks.
Layers: dress in layers; warm air is trapped between layers and helps to insulate.
Outer layer: make sure the outermost layer is tightly woven so as to keep out the wind.
Underwear: make sure you have long sleeved vests, thick socks and even leggings over tights (or under trousers) to keep out the cold on the way to nursery. The children can always take them off once they arrive.
Keep dry: make sure your child is dry and wears waterproofs if it's raining.
Shivering: is a reflex and if you child is so cold they shiver, they need to get inside and out of the cold.
What do you do with all the baby clothes and equipment once your baby grows out of them? So often, babies grow so quickly that their clothes are hardly worn. If you are like most families, the clothes will clog up drawers and wardrobes and get mixed up in clothes that fit and generally get in the way.
What to do? Do you keep them for posterity or sentimental reasons? Do you just throw them away? Do charity shops even want baby clothing?
Store them: If you are intending to have more children, then wash and iron the clothes. Pack them into bags labeled by age range and neatly store them in sealed bags. They store much better when ironed and will look nicer once they come out of storage. Don't worry if you have a different gender the next time round... babies really don't mind what they wear so you may as well get use out of the clothes than worry whether your next baby boy will appreciate flower fairy pyjamas. No one will see!
Friends and Family: There are bound to be friends and family who would be happy to take the clothes off your hands and there is no shame in offering, or accepting second hand clothing. Call it, "previously worn" or "previously loved" rather than old or second hand.
Nearly New Sales: The NCT run local sales all over the country. You have to buy a table to sell from or sometimes the local NCT group will arrange the selling and you simply offer a percentage of your takings. Schools and local groups also arrange sales so keep you eyes open and make use of these sales options. If you are embarrassed about selling, go to a nearby town where no one knows you!
Go to nct.org.uk for more info.
Maternity wards: Try your local hospital or maternity ward and see if they need any baby clothing. Often they are happy to receive baby grows, vests, blankets etc to hand over to new mums who forget or run out of clothing. Or, they may even know of local mums who would appreciate some extra clothes for their baby. The health visitor may also be able to take things off your hands to pass on to needy families.
Charity Shop: Check first before taking things to the charity shop as they may be well stocked for baby clothing so its worth calling first. They are usually quite happy to take nice quality clothes and toys.
Pre-Schools and infant schools - pre-schools may wish to take clothing or toys off your hands. So too might play groups, church creches for Sunday schools etc. They may have fairs and stall that will sell toys or may use them for the children.
Try not to throw them away and if you really think your clothing is mucky then use the huge clothing recycling bins so the fabric can be recycled.