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Sunday Opinion: Protecting your children from sunburn

Each Sunday morning across December will be bringing you a new column from Kellie Watkinson, Creative Writer in the radio industry, recent first time Mum and lifetime weather enthusiast.

A Good Slapping.

Things are a lot different for my baby daughter (image to the right) than what they were for me when I was a youngin.

Back in the olden days when I was a youngin the term Slip Slop Slap meant (to me at least) … slip into the kitchen and scurry up to the fridge … quickly swig back an illicit gulp or two of Coke, which I’d inevitably slop all over the floor in my haste to not get caught … which would lead to me getting caught, which led to a good old slap on the bum by Mum. Oh the ‘good’ old days. Where kids could drink Coke. Mums could slap bums. And Slip Slop Slap meant nothing.

How times have changed.

Sometime during the 80’s when parts of the ozone layer decided it had had enough abuse and it was time to go hide Slip Slop Slap became as well known in households as the Sesame Street song. Slip on a shirt. Slop on some sunscreen. Slap on a hat. At some point it was joined by Wrap – wrap on a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.

Coming from a family of sun worshipers where being pasty white meant you were ill and the only way to get better was to ‘get out in that sun and get a tan’, I pretty much ignored the Slip Slop Slap message until the late 90’s where whilst holidaying in Nelson a particularly hot and sunny day saw me burn as red as a cooked crayfish, leaving me peeling for days and hiding from the sun for the rest of my holiday. Since then I’ve sort of adhered to the Slop message. Kind of adhered to the Slap message, mainly because I don’t fancy being a wrinkled old prune by the age of 50. And completely adhered to the Slip on a t-shirt message but only because I strongly believe the only kind of muffin top I need to show anyone is the kind of muffin top you find on one of my freshly baked muffins. As for Wrap? As a wearer of spectacles wrapping on a pair of sunnies is pretty much left out in the cold.

Yes it’s fair to say I haven’t been that sun smart over the course of my life. But I get to have another go at it and this time I plan on doing it well.

You see at my latest Plunket appointment I was informed it was time to start Slip Slop Slapping and Wrapping my 12 week old daughter. Something I was utterly unprepared for. Luckily it meant a trip to the shops which is something I’m always prepared for.

First stop Pumpkin Patch for some long sleeved t’s (which I didn’t really need to buy but how could I resist buying a pink t-shirt with red and white flowers that would make my darling girls skin tone just pop) and a hat – a cute stripy wee number with a wee red bow on it. Then the pharmacy saw us right with a no-name brand sunscreen specifically designed for babies and recommended by the lovely shop assistant whose daughter had used it and found it excellent. The only thing I didn’t buy were sunglasses mainly because I don’t see how they’d stay on her little ears. Hopefully the brim of her fabulous hat will keep her wee eyes safe. (If anyone can point me in the direction of good sunnies for little babies I’d be very grateful).

So I’m all set to Slip Slop Slap and Wrap my little girl up this summer. And who knows, maybe this youngin will teach her old mum a lesson or two about being sun smart and I’ll Slip Slop Slap and Wrap 100% of the time this summer too.

– homepage image / blue skies by Laura Jerome
– Blog by Kellie Watkinson – Follow Kellie on Twitter: @Quitesimplykell

*Editor’s Note: Kellie will be writing a column each Sunday across December for – bringing you a perspective from a Kiwi Mum who loves the weather, loves gardening, and is packaged up in an often witty, always fun, style of writing.


sw on 15/12/2012 7:45pm

Used to be a good strapping/slap lol to not go in the sun to get burnt.

Maria on 15/12/2012 7:39pm

I to shudder to think of all the damage done to my skin (70’s child) I still remember peeling huge chunks of skin off my nose after being sunburnt eek.

I found these sun glasses really good for babies as they cant remove them easily Great selection as well!

Kellie on 19/12/2012 2:28am

Thank for that link! VERY good website 🙂

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