Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sun Safety

By Christina VanGinkel

Warm weather and sun means it is finally time to get baby outside and experiencing the exhilaration of all the fresh air. Trips to the park, beach, even strolls around the block in the stroller, or for those a bit older, maybe a fun walk being pulled around in the wagon. It also means that it is time to take these very same little one's protection from the sun seriously.

We all know that the sun has some very obvious benefits, but with too much exposure, the positives can be quickly outpaced by the negatives. With infants and young children, the negatives can add up quickly because of the nature of their so new and untarnished skin. This means that as a conscientious parent, we must take care to protect our little loved ones from over exposure to the damaging rays of the sun. One of the last things any parent wants to have to deal with is an infant or toddler who is suffering from a serious sunburn, or even heatstroke. Both conditions are potentially dangerous and could even be fatal.

Each year, as we learn more about the damage to our own skin and health that exposure through the years can bring, companies are working to help us keep all of our family members, including the smallest, safe, and still able to enjoy all the positives effects of the fresh air at the same time. A few products that I have noticed, and that seem to take this issue both to heart and seriously include the following:

Kiddopotamus and Co. have developed several sunshades that work on your stroller. Their RayShade UV Protective Stroller Sun Shade fits most single strollers, and attaches with both hooks and straps. By using this with your existing stroller, you can be sure that your little ones can enjoy a jog around the park or a walk around the block even during the sunniest part of the day, and never be in the full heat or exposure of the sun's rays.

Sunshades that attach to the inside of the vehicle, right on the window itself, not only cut down on the glare that may hurt an infant's or toddler's eyes, they can also help to keep baby cool, especially if your vehicle does not have air conditioning. Take note though, that these are not meant to keep the vehicle cool enough to leave an infant or child in a parked vehicle. Always take your child out of the vehicle on hot days. Leaving a child or infant in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes, is totally unacceptable. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a mother, father, or some other caregiver make a statement that the child is sleeping and they left the windows or door open, so how hot could it potentially get in just a short time. It can get hot enough to injure or kill the child.

The Sun Stop'r Kwik Cabana I Tent, 36"h X 39"w X 39"d, the Sun Stop'r Kwik Cabana II Tent, 42"h X 47"w X 47"d, or the Sun Stop'r Kwik Cabana III Tent, 58"h X 74"w X 70"d are all made to provide a place for the little ones to play and enjoy the outdoors, all the while keeping out 97% of the sun’s rays. All three models have a built in floor, which is a nice feature for when you want to use them at a public beach or park, keeping baby safe from rocks, insects, and other undesirables that might be on the ground. They all fold up to carry and set up to use quickly and simply. This is one of those products that the first time I saw one, I wished it had been available when my own children were small. I cannot tell you how many trips to the park I took with my older kids for example, when I would have loved to have a safe spot to set my youngest one down for even a few minutes. The two smaller ones are enclosed much like a tent, while the largest of the three is open on the sides and is even big enough for a parent or older sibling to sit under too!

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