Children need protection from the heat and cold, sun and insects when they are outside.
Since children have smaller bodies, they are at more risk than adults to become too hot (heat stroke) or too cold (hypothermia).
- Younger babies may need to feed more often. Make sure your older baby or young child drinks more water to prevent dehydration.
- Don't bundle your child too tightly. Dress your baby or child in layers that can be put off and taken off easily.
- Winter in Alberta can be very cold. Check the outdoor temperature before going out and keep children inside if the temperature or windchill drops below -27°C (-16°F). At these temperatures, exposed skin will begin to freeze.
- Make sure all outside doors are secure so your child can't get out on her own.
- Use a warm hat when it's cold and avoid using scarves. These can hang down, catch and strangle your child.
- Put a blanket over your child for warmth or shade after she is buckled into her child safety seat. Be sure not to cover your baby's face.
For information about treating heat stroke and hypothermia
- Visit myhealth.alberta.ca and enter the key words 'heatstroke' or 'hypothermia' in the search box.
Keep these things in mind about being in the sun—any time of the year.
- Protect your baby by keeping her out of direct sunlight when possible.
- Try to stay out of the sun from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The sun's rays are strongest at these times.
- Teach your child to play in the shade.
- In the summer, keep your child cool and protected with loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. Keep her arms and legs covered whenever possible. A wide-brimmed hat protects the face and neck.
- Use ultraviolet (UV) blocking sunglasses. They will protect your child's eyes from the harmful UV rays from the sun.
- Use sunscreen and insect repellent safely.
- For babies less than 6 months old, don’t use sunscreen. Try to keep her out of direct sunlight.
- For babies 6 months to 1 year old, use sunscreen only if your baby can’t avoid being in the sun. Try to keep her out of direct sunlight. If you must be in the sun, it’s better to use sunscreen than to let your baby’s skin burn. Put on the sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun. Keep skin covered with light clothing.
- For children 1 year and older, put on sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. Make sure you re-apply it every 2 hours, as well as after any activities that get her wet or sweaty.
- Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
Children in the sun
- Any sunburn, in summer or winter can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life.
Using sunscreen or insect repellent
- When sunscreen or insect repellent are no longer needed, wash your child's skin thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- For children less than 6 months old, don’t use insect repellent. Use mosquito netting and try not to be out when insect activity is high.
- For children 6 months to 2 years old, use insect repellent only when there’s a high risk of complications from insect bites (e.g., in areas where there are reports of West Nile virus activity). Don’t use insect repellent more than once a day for children this age.
- For children over 2 years old, you can apply insect repellent up to 3 times a day.
- Use the least-concentrated formula of DEET (10% or less) for children. Use on exposed skin and clothing. Stay away from the face, hands and any irritated skin. Use as little as possible.
For more information about outdoor safety, visit Health Canada.
When your child needs both sunscreen and
insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the insect
repellent. Health Canada doesn’t recommend the use of combination sunscreen and repellent products.