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Dublin: 19 °C Sunday 21 July, 2019
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Children's hospital pleads with parents to keep their children protected from the sun

Temple Street Children’s University Hospital has seen a spike in the number of children presenting with serious sunburn in the last week.

shutterstock_399550420 (1) Source: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

ONE OF THE country’s main children’s hospitals has issued a plea to parents to keep their children safe during the ongoing heatwave.

Temple Street Children’s University Hospital has seen a spike in the number of children presenting with sunburn since the beginning of the heatwave.

The ongoing sunny weather, which is already causing issues with water supplies around the country, is expected to last for at least another week.

Temple Street has seen six cases of children with serious sunburn since the fine weather began. All were aged older than four.

“If you think your baby or child has been affected by overexposure to the sun, for example if the baby or child appears dizzy, weak or is complaining of intense thirst or a headache, please go to your GP or local Emergency Department without delay as this could be an indication of heatstroke which can develop very suddenly and rapidly and is extremely dangerous,” said consultant in emergency medicine at Temple Street Dr Ike Okafor.

The following is the hospital’s advice for keeping children safe during the heatwave:

Babies

  • Always keep babies under six months in the shade
  • Make use of shade that is around you and use extra shade for prams and strollers as needed
  • Make sure the shade casts a dark shadow
  • Make sure babies are covered up: Dress babies in loose-fitting outfits with long sleeves and long shorts. Make sure they are made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through
  • If babies are kept in the shade and covered with clothes you will only need to use a small amount of sunscreen on the areas not covered with clothes. This can be reapplied every two hours
  • Choose a sunscreen that is made for children and babies. Make sure to patch test it on their skin first. If their skin reacts to the product stop using it straight away, and try a different brand
  • Offer the baby plenty of cool drinks
  • Keep your living space as cool as possible – keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun and turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat

Older Children

  • Where possible keep children out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Keep older children safe by following the SunSmart Code, especially children with pale or freckled skin that does not tan or burns before it tans, children with red or fair hair and/ or a large number of moles
  • Find a hat a baby or child likes to wear. Make sure it has a wide brim that gives shade to the face, neck, head and ears. A tie under the chin may stop them from taking it off
  • It is important that children, as soon as they can, wear wrap-around sunglasses that give UV protection
  • Only use sunscreen on those areas of the skin that cannot be protected by clothes or a hat
  • Use Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and UVA protection
  • Choose a sunscreen (sprays, lotions, creams and mists) that the child likes using
  • Put plenty of it on dry skin 20 minutes before they go outside and reapply every two hours
  • As far as it is possible plan outdoor events so that children can be in the shade when UV rays are at their strongest from 11am to 3pm
  • Offer children plenty of cool drinks
  • Keep your living space as cool as possible

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