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Red Hot Beach Baby - Sun Safety for Babies

Updated on December 4, 2012

Baby Sun Safety

A red hot beach baby is definitely NOT a good thing and something you want to avoid if at all possible. Babies tender skins need protection from a hot summer sun.

Baby sun safety is vital.

Please do not try to give your baby a ‘healthy’ tan, keep him or her covered and protected from the sun this summer.

Put a sun shade cover over their prams or buggies and cover any exposed skin with a high factor sun cream to prevent their tender skin from burning.

Just 5 minutes exposure to a really hot sun could do irreparable damage that will come back and haunt them in later life.

90% of all diagnosed skin cancers are believed to relate back to a burning incident in childhood.

Make sure your baby has plenty to drink on hot days.

Offer them a bottle with plain water, even if they are breastfed.

Dehydration can very quickly become a serious problem in babies up to 2 years old.

Babies are good at letting you know when they are in discomfort by crying loudly and often.

Don’t ignore this – it could be a sign that all is not well.

Severely dehydrated red hot beach babies may not cry. They may not have the strength!

burnt baby
burnt baby

Baby's fontanelle


Baby Paediatric Books at Amazon

Signs of Dehydration

Classic signs of advanced dehydration in babies include skin losing its elasticity and a baby’s head showing signs of a sinking fontanelle.

The fontanelle is the gap on a baby’s skull that hasn’t yet closed over, just above their forehead. Normally it is covered with a rigid membrane and you sometimes see a pulse beating just under this membrane. That is perfectly normal. When this membrane becomes sunken and dipping inwards, that is a sign of dehydration which can be fatal.

It is vitally important to get fluids into that baby as soon as possible, If the baby is ill and vomiting everything up, take him or her to your nearest emergency centre for treatment.

Babies actually succumb to dehydration much quicker than adults or even older children, so don’t wait around for it to get better on its own.

Even if the child is not vomitting, a sunken fontanelle is serious. Please don't ignore it.

Years ago I worked with babies suffering from gastroenteritis in a fever hospital. We used to sit with these poor wee mites 24 hours a day making sure they got fluids into them using tubes and all sorts of things.

The sucking instinct is very strong in babies; we got their fluid levels back up but not without a fight. Dehydrated babies are weak and irritable and lose their sucking instinct as they show no interest in their surroundings, far less have an appetite or thirst.

Cute baby Crying - NOT dehydrated

Baby Sun Safety - Cool Baby Down

It’s not just the sun, but the heat will dehydrate a baby really quickly. If it is at all possible, position baby next to a fan so that they are not breathing in stale hot air, and please make sure baby gets extra fluids during a heat wave.

Taking baby down to the beach is really not a good idea if he or she is under walking age. The sun’s rays are actually stronger in a beach location, even if there is a sea breeze. The sunlight gets reflected off the water and this in turn intensifies its rays.

If you absolutely have to, dress baby in clothes that are as light as possible and provide a sun shade for baby to sit or sleep under.

Under no condition take baby down to the water without a high factor sun cream – 50 or more if possible. Reapply often.

Babies skins are beautifully soft and downy, but oh so tender.

Sea water is salty and the salts also amplify the sun’s rays, so if you do take baby to the shallow water please don’t take him or her there for longer than 10 -15 minutes maximum, less is better.

Baby Car Sun Shade

Don't Leave Baby in Car with Windows Closed

If you have baby in the car with you on the way to the beach, or on the way back, please never ever leave your baby in the car on a hot stifling day while you nip into a shop or whatever, without opening the car window at least a fraction to let in air.

I know this is a worry nowadays that someone might nick your car with baby in it and you want to lock it up securely – probably you have central locking and a press of a button locks it, but even if you only intend to be a minute in the shop, open those windows!

You never know what could delay you in the shop. A big queue at the checkout, or the appearance of an armed robber, or a lightning strike, who knows?

Don’t let your baby become yet another victim of hyperthermia that we read about every summer. Follow a pattern of never leaving your baby in a hot car under the summer sun without ventilation, even for a moment.


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    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      I just nipped over and read your hub 2uesday (its very good by the way), and I'll link back to yours too seeing as yours takes a slightly different take on the subject but the two are closely related. Thanks!

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      Hi Izzy if it is OK with you I will link this to my article about protecting babies/children from sunburn. It might help as you have some great advice and the sunhats are a good idea for little ones.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      Excellent comment Lynne and will add no doubt to the (hopefully) informative nature of this article :)

    • profile image

      Lynne 7 years ago

      One thing I disagree with - infants under 6 months old (especially breastfed babies) do not need additional water UNLESS advised so by a health professional. Formula contains sufficient water for most babies, and breastfeeding mothers' bodies naturally increase the water content of the breastmilk in hot weather. Also, breastfed babies tend to 'snack' more in hot weather, or if they feel thirsty, because this way they receive more 'foremilk' which has a very high water content (yet another reason to feed on demand rather than on schedule). When we were little, health visitors, midwives and doctors all recommended additional fluids for all babies, but modern research discovered a potentially fatal risk; too much water can quickly lead to infant water intoxication, the leading cause of healthy infant seizures.

      It's also worth noting that current recommendations for exclusively breastfed babies are; no bottles or dummies for the first 6 weeks to avoid 'nipple confusion', which can damage the breastfeeding relationship and lead to nursing strikes and self-weaning from the breast.

      Sorry mum, all stuff I've learned in my pre-midwifery training research ;-)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks 2uesday :) I hope it gets read because every year babies are damaged because of the sun.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      Good advice in this - a really well organised and useful article written in an interesting way. I think you have a fantastic hub here and it is about such important information.