Every new parent enters their first summer season with a certain amount of reservation. With so many things to be wary of, combined with the natural anxiety of being a new parent, it can be challenging to be confident about one’s capabilities. As any parent will tell you, a certain amount of trial-and-error will come into play. On the other hand, a little bit of common sense will go a long way too.
While it is natural to want to keep your babies skin covered, parents must be careful not to overdress the little one. Yes, it is good idea to keep baby’s skin protected from the sun. Just be sure that your baby is not overdressed. Try to use clothing that is made from light cotton or linen, and always be sure to cover the wee one’s head with a great, big hat.
It is next-to-impossible to completely avoid the sun in the summer months. Many parents opt to keep their children out of the sun, as opposed to using sunscreen and letting them roam free. This is a very thoughtful approach, but not always practical. Be sure to use a high quality sunscreen, with an SPF rating no lower than 30, when you are in the sun with baby. And don’t forget that the little one will need sunscreen when in the pool, too!
Insects are another consideration, especially those pesky mosquitoes! In the past they were more of an annoyance than a health concern, but in recent times there are some valid concerns regarding West Nile Virus. Aside from the standard mosquito prevention techniques advised by the public health authorities, there are a few alternatives available. As a parent, I would not feel comfortable applying DEET to may baby’s skin. DEET is an extremely poisonous and toxic chemical designed for the military, not for babies. Try using scented oil such as tea tree oil or rosemary. These are safe, natural alternatives. If you are going to be spending time in the wilderness, make sure baby is wearing light clothing that leaves very little skin exposed.
If your little one is old enough to ride a tricycle, be sure that you have a good quality helmet for him or her to wear. Every year, hundreds of children are rushed to the hospital for easily avoidable injuries. Play it safe, and make sure your child always wears a helmet when playing with any moving toy with wheels. For smaller children that are just learning to walk, why not consider using a baby harness? This way, you can let your child run free without having to worry about scrapes and bruises! Have a great summer, and play safe.