How can I protect my baby in very hot weather?
- Avoid taking walks during peak temperatures, especially if your child is younger than one year old
- When going out, dress the child lightly with loose-fitting clothes, in a light colour, and don’t forget a little hat.
- Never leave a child alone in a car or a poorly-ventilated room, even for a short time.
- Bring enough water along on all car trips.
- At home, dress children only in diapers, particularly while they sleep. No pyjamas are necessary.
- Dampen the child’s clothes, sprinkle water on the face and limbs with a mister or a spray bottle.
- Baths during the day are helpful (babies’ bath water should always be between 36° and 37°C). The baby will be gently refreshed as the water in the bath cools.
- The child should drink larger amounts of fluid than usual.
- Darken the windows exposed to sunlight during the day.
- Air out the rooms, unless the outside temperature is higher than the indoor temperature.
- Avoid sunscreens and choose a moisturizing lotion for babies instead.
How can I protect older children?
- Avoid all intense effort or sports activity during times of peak temperature.
- Whenever possible, schedule your outings before or after the hours of most intense heat.
- Have the children play in cool or shady places, or even in a place cooled by air conditioning, ideally 5°C cooler than the ambient
- temperature. Never let them play in a sunroom.
- Give them showers or cool baths regularly.
What should I do about the sunlight?
- The sun can burn even when it’s not hot and even when it’s cloudy.
- Don’t let yourself be fooled by your geographic location: the sun’s rays are as dangerous in the North as in the South.
- Have your children wear clothes that are loose-fitting, light weight, pale in colour, and cover the exposed parts of the skin Using a wide brimmed hat is also helpful.
- Apply sunscreen generously (very high level of protection) or moisturizing lotion which you reapply at least every 2 hours.
- Have them wear good quality sunglasses with true protection against the rays. Lenses that are merely tinted plastic offer no protection for their eyes.
- Most parasols prevent direct exposure to the sun, but they do not offer protection from the heat. They are not an effective filter for all of the sun’s rays.
What are the warning signs of excessive heat exposure?
- Fever, especially if it is high: 40°C.
- Pallor (turning pale in colour)
- Unusual agitation.
- Excessive thirst with a loss of weight.
What should I do if my child shows signs of excessive heat exposure?
- Place the child in a cool room.
- Give them something to drink immediately and regularly.
- Bring the fever down with a bath in water that is one or two degrees below body temperature.
- Consult a doctor promptly.
- In the event of impaired consciousness, refusal or inability to drink, abnormal colour of the skin, or fever greater than 40°C, call an ambulance, dial 112
How do I choose the correct sunscreen product?
- Sunscreen products have a protection index, SPF (sun protection factor).
- This index provides information about the degree of the protection against UVB rays ( – the ones that cause sunstroke and sunburn).
- There are 4 classes of protection:
- Weak protection: SPF 6 to 10.
- Average protection: SPF 15 to 25.
- High protection: SPF 30 to 50.
- Very high protection: SPF 50 and +.
- For children, very high protection is recommended, especially for those with fair skin.
- The UVA rays are also harmful because they accelerate the aging of the skin and aggravate the effects of the UVB.
Note: do not forget that a sunscreen product has a limited useful life, once opened. Check for the expiry date on the package.
Avoid going out in the sun between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM, the time when the angle of the sun’s rays is closest to vertical and there is little filtering by the atmosphere.
For children, choose sunscreen creams or lotions with a very high SPF factor.
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