Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Browned off

A common sight during summer in Nappy Valley is the Heath Robinson attempts by women wielding expensive buggies to shield their babies from the sun. On a hot day, the local mummies can be found desperately trying to veil their offspring from the rays under various shawls, muslins, tea-towels, umbrellas and random pieces of netting clipped to their prams.

Now, you would have thought that makers of designer prams et would have invented a workable sunshade option by now (especially since most of their customers must live in warmer climes than here). But, judging by this summer’s pram customisations, clearly they haven’t (for if it does exist, surely the locals here would have bought it?). Cheaper pushchairs, in contrast, seem to come with perfectly acceptable-looking covers.

Three years ago, when I was a new mother, the solution of choice for Bugaboo owners was to affix a muslin cloth across the hood with clothes pegs, thus protecting the baby’s face but handily ruining the stylish aspect of the buggy. The UV ‘parasol’ that you could buy as an accessory was fine if the sun was in a particular corner of the sky and you were walking in a particular direction at the time– but was otherwise utterly useless.

Today, the favoured option seems to be to drape the pram with a silk scarf (or perhaps last season’s pashmina?) thus enabling you to show off your fashion sense as well as your concern for the child’s skin.

While this works OK for newborns, who don’t particularly care about the view, it must be deeply frustrating for older babies. And toddlers like the Littleboys, of course, have no such truck with being shielded from the outside world. Their attitude to sunhats is also unsatisfactory; they either constantly remove them (Littleboy 2) or wear them obsessively whenever they don’t need them - in the house, in the bath, in bed - but not when you want them to (Littleboy 1) .

Short of buying them Victorian-style baby bonnets with strings (an option I have considered), the only thing to be done is to slather them in Factor 50 and hope for the best. But at least we are all avoiding the worst possible faux pas; one that says more about your social status these days than pierced ears or a mullet – a suntanned baby.


The Dotterel said...

Interestingly, this seems to be a recent problem - Charlie's using Sally's old pram (she is ten) which has a superabundance of sunshade devices. Doesn't look cool, though!

Frog in the Field said...

Heck, the pressure of living in the real world!
I think we had a parasol that was on a bendy handle when we went to Australia with the eldest, but I think the girls just learnt to squint a bit after that!
Am I a cruel mother?

Mini-et-Moi said...

Have you tried the Gap for a hat with a velcro strap so it stays on? It has my toddler fooled (for the moment) ... When in doubt I also try the Factor 50 thing. And feel guilty all day at how white and streaky she looks. Not the best look for photos!

valley girl said...

Dottorel, I don't think it's a new problem, just that we are more paranoid than ever about these things!
Dear Frog, you are surely not a cruel mother; maybe it's just that in these pesky global warming times, the Southeast of England is scorched by stronger rays than you over in the lovely Welsh hills?
The Gap hat sounds good, although I'm sure Littleboy2 wouldn't be fooled by velcro - he has Houdini tendencies. I have just bought him a 'Flap Happy' hat with strings, that ties under the chin. He absolutely hates it, but so far hasn't managed to remove it....