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NHS England issues baby safety advice during ‘heatwave’

NHS England issues baby safety advice during ‘heatwave’

Nurses are reminded to advise parents with young children to keep their babies and toddlers protected in the sun.

Temperatures are reaching highs of 32C today (19 June). Babies and young children can become ill during very hot weather. Their health can be seriously affected by:

  • Dehydration
  • Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
  • Sunburn

NHS England has issued a level 2 heat health alert which calls for readiness from health professionals in concern to vulnerable patients.

The NHS alert warned: ‘There is a 70% probability of heatwave conditions between 12pm on Saturday and 8am on Tuesday in parts of England.

‘Hot weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients.’

The Met Office has advised that ‘UV levels are high for many this week’. The public can get the UV forecast on the Met Office app on iPhone or Android.

The NHS Choices website advises parents to keep their baby cool and protect them from the sun by:

  • Keeping them out of direct sunlight

  • Attaching a parasol or sunshade to their pushchair

  • Applying them with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15

  • Giving them a sunhat with a wide brim

  • Avoiding dehydration by breastfeeding more than usual or giving them cooled boiled water throughout the day

  • Allowing them to play in a paddling pool in the shade while supervised

  • Running them a cool bath before bedtime

  • Keeping their bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains, or using a fan

  • Keeping nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum

  • Using a thermometer to help keep their room between 16C and 20C

Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour and provides some protection from the sun.

Older infants should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer and between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.

Fruit drinks for hydration

According to NHS Choices, parents can be creative when trying to keep their child hydrated: ‘If they’re over six months old and they get bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day.

‘For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.’

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Nurses are reminded to advise parents with young children to keep their babies and toddlers protected in the sun.