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The summer holidays have finally started, and families all over the UK are looking forward to jetting off to hotter climes for a much-needed break. However, keeping kids safe in the sun can be a challenge: all they want to do is play in the sea or by the cool, but as a parent you will be very conscious of the damage that too much sunshine can do to their skin. Forewarned is forearmed, though, so plan your sun-safe strategy before you travel.

The sun is at its fieriest between the hours of 11am and 4pm, so if you have younger kids (not teenagers who want to lie in), try to head out early and enjoy the water while the sun is still sitting relatively low in the sky.

Many beaches have very little in the way of trees or other natural shading, so if you are planning on a day on the sand, do be sure to pack a pop-up tent or parasol to provide a refuge from the sun.

Most children love to spend lots of time playing in the water, so factor this in when selecting the most appropriate sunscreen. For water play, it is recommended that you cover them with a SPF 50 or higher water-resistant product, and be sure to reapply it regularly (at least every two hours). It’s best to apply the sun protection before you leave your accommodation to avoid tantrums at the pool or beach from impatient kids who are dying to having fun..

Another great way to protect children is to invest in some protective swimwear with a UV rating. As with sunscreen, it is best to opt for a rating of UPF50+. Lots of styles are available, with long or short sleeves depending on your needs. The best products are those manufactured from chlorine-resistant Lycra - both to protect the skin and for ultimate comfort.

Many people don’t realise that kids can fall foul of heatstroke even when they are in the water. You should keep an eye on the length of time that they are in the sea or pool, calling them out for regular rests in the shade. Make sure they rehydrate themselves with a cool drink - ideally water.

Sunglasses are a must to protect young eyes. Most kids will love a trip out to choose their own style, and you’ll find that they are far more likely to wear them if they have had a hand in the selection process.

Although we all hope for unbroken sunshine during our trips away, don’t let the presence of clouds fool you into thinking that you can relax on the sun-protection front. The dangerous UVB and UVA rays can get through cloud cover, so be as vigilant as you would be when there is not a cloud in sight.

If you are struggling to remove sand from your child before reapplying sunscreen, simply dust the affected areas with some talcum powder. The sand will then be easy to brush off, making reapplication a breeze.

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