sun safety
Health and safety

All you need to know about sun safety


Research tells us that:

1. Getting sunburnt in childhood or adolescence can increase the risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in later life.

2. Tanned skin is damaged skin. The tan a child gets may fade but the damage remains – and can lead to skin cancer later in life.

3. People get most of their sun exposure before the age of 18. Children who are at greater risk All children are at risk of UV damage, even those who tan easily and need to be protected with the SunSmart code. However, some children are more at risk, especially if they have:

4. Pale or freckled skin that does not tan or burns before it tans.

5. Red or fair hair.

6. Blue, green or grey eyes.

7. A large number of moles. Babies and the sun

8. Keep babies under six months in the shade as much as possible.

9. Make use of shade that is around you and use extra shade for prams, strollers as needed.

10. 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 infants 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.

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.

Babies and Vitamin D:

The HSE recommends that all infants from birth to 12 months, whether breastfed or formula fed, be given a daily supplement of vitamin D. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about this if you are unsure what to do.

How to prepare your kids for a day out in the sun

1. Hats – Find a hat with 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.

2. Sunglasses – It is important that children wear wrap-around sunglasses that give UV protection, as soon as they can.

3. Sunscreen – 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.

4. Shade – As far as it is possible plan outdoor events so that children can be in the shade when UV rays are at their strongest. In Ireland this is generally from 11am to 3pm.

sun safety

Dr Patrick Ormond, Consultant Dermatologist, the Irish Skin Foundation, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and Department of Health.


Sunscreens need to be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun, to allow it to dry into the skin. Clothing should not be put on until it has dried in.

UV rays can damage the skin within 15 minutes, so waiting until you are out in the sun is too late to put on the first application. Parents diligently apply the sunscreen onto the child first, and then apply their own – but both parent and child have already accrued some damage.

Sunscreens should be both UVA and UVB protective. The Sun protection factor (SPF) number refers to only UVB protection level, and this reflects the time taken to produce a sunburn in laboratory conditions, and in no way reflects how much protection a sunscreen gives in reality.

Most people use too little sunscreen, and then it is removed by sweating, swimming, towelling etc. An easy way to remember how much to use is a teaspoon to the face and a shot glass to the body, every two hours. Of course more frequently if swimming etc.

Clothing is not an absolute “sun block”. A white t-shirt has an a SPF of about 7 – which filters about 80% of both UVB and UVA. A wet white T shirt has an SPF of about 3. However, they are constant, and won’t be washed off, or applied too thinly. Darker colours are better as they absorb UV better than white. The thickness of the weave of the fabric will alter it’s effectiveness – if you can see the light coming thorough it, UV radiation can get through it – but clothing will reduce sun exposure predictably and persistently.

More like this:

Why vitamin D is important
First aid essentials
Complete guide to summer safety


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

a photo a day

A photo a day

It’s the ‘ordinary little moments’ that actually turn out to be the most important.

why vitamin d is important

Why vitamin D is important

Studies have shown that here in Ireland many people have a deficiency of vitamin D in Irish children so it’s likely that many Irish children have less than healthy levels.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.