Beat the Heat and Stay Safe in Hot Weather

Whether you’re enjoying the sun in the UK or abroad, remember that summer can pose various health risks for children and parents alike. Here are some top tips to beat the heat and stay well in the sun.

Stay Cool

Escalating temperatures are synonymous with summer. When planning outdoor activities, avoid the heat peak of the day and stay in the shade between 11am -3pm. Wear sunscreen, a hat, light clothes and avoid exercise or activity that makes you hotter.

To cool yourself down, have cold food and drinks, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and hot drinks. Have a cool shower or put cool water on your skin or clothes.

To keep your living space cool, close windows during the day and open them at night when the temperature outside has gone down. Electric fans can help if the temperature is below 35 degrees. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment as they generate heat. Remember to check the temperature of rooms, especially where people at higher risk live and sleep.

Stay Hydrated

The human body is over 60% water, so it’s important we drink enough fluid to keep this balance as dehydration can happen swiftly in hot conditions. It can be hard to know if you’re drinking enough water or fluids throughout the day. Waiting until you feel thirsty can often be too late, as by the time we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated. Other warning signs of dehydration include:

  • feeling lightheaded,
  •  a dry mouth,
  • tiredness,
  •  having dark coloured urine,
  • needing to go to the toilet less often than normal.

And signs a baby might be dehydrated are:

  • Having a sunken soft spot,
  • Little or no tears when they cry,
  • Fewer wet nappies than normal,
  • They’re drowsy.

Water is the healthiest way to stay hydrated. To avoid dehydration, encourage frequent water intake, especially if you are active outdoors. Water contains 0 calories or teeth-damaging sugars. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, mix it up by adding a slice of lemon or opting for sparkling water.  Keep a water bottle close by when you’re out and about and regularly top up your fluid levels.

Stay Protected

Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer, and it doesn’t just happen on holiday. You can burn in the UK, even when it’s cloudy. There is also no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan does not protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects. Aim to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight.


Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. As a guide, adults should aim to apply around 6 to 8 teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re covering your entire body. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. If you’re worried you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

If you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied twice; 30 minutes before going out and just before going out.

When buying sunscreen, the label should have:

  • a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB.
  • at least 4-star UVA protection
  • UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters “UVA” in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard.
  • Make sure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date.

Do not spend any longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen.  For more guidance on sunscreen and sun safety: Sunscreen and sun safety – NHS (

Clothing and Sunglasses

Do not rely on sunscreen alone to protect yourself from the sun. Wear suitable clothing and spend time in the shade when the suns at its hottest. Wear clothes and sunglasses that provide sun protection by

  • wearing a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears
  •  trousers or long skirts in close-weave fabrics that do not allow sunlight through.
  • sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms with the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E

For more information on how to protect yourself and others against the sun:

Sunscreen and sun safety – NHS (
Water, drinks and hydration – NHS (
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke – NHS (