Kids love playing under the sun, and now that summer is here, one of the things that moms worry about is sun safety. Skin cancer is on the rise, but does that mean your kids should stay cooped up indoors all throughout the summer break?
Children who have been exposed to sunburn at an early age are found to be twice as likely to develop melanoma which is responsible for 9.000 deaths per year in the United States alone. But only 1 in 4 children use sunscreen regularly.
While these numbers are alarming, all hope is not lost. There are some simple steps you can take as a parent to protect your kids from the sun’s harsh rays.
Here are 8 things you should know:
- Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen is a powerful tool in protecting your child’s skin from UV rays. Be sure to slather some sunscreen on your kids’ skin at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and to reapply throughout the day. If you’re going for a swim, reapplying every 2 hours and after taking a dip is a must. To ensure maximum protection, choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. (Here is a list of certified safe brands or you can try an all natural option)
- Wear protective clothing – Aside from sunscreen, another thing that can help you protect your child’s skin from the sun is protective clothing. Go for sun-protective swimwear with at least UPF 20 instead of regular ones. As far as everyday clothes go, darker colors offer more protection compared to lighter ones. It’s also important to note that wet clothes don’t offer as much protection as dry clothes, so be sure to get them changed after swimming or when they’re sweaty.
- Throw on a hat – Dressing up is always fun for kids, but did you know that a hat can offer so much more than just jazz up their outfits? Hats are great for protecting your kids from the sun. When choosing a hat, a good rule to remember is that it should cover the face, head, ears, and neck
- Save their eyes with sunglasses – another functional accessory that you can add to your kid’s outfit this summer is a pair of sunglasses. Choose sunglasses that fit well and are UVA and UVB resistant to ensure maximum sun protection for your little ones’ eyes. (Here are some well-made models)
- Find comfort and protection under the shade – soaking up the sun feels great, but when the kids get too much of it, their skin might be at risk for skin cancer. Shade moves with the sun, so following it as you spend some time outdoors is always a good idea. If you find this to be too much of an inconvenience, however, you can seek natural shade from trees or you can bring your own shade like an umbrella or a beach tent.
- Avoid the sun at its peak – planning the kids’ outdoor activities is another way to ensure optimal sun protection. Avoid scheduling outdoor activities from 10 AM to 4 PM since the sun is at its peak intensity during these hours and UV light is at its strongest. It’s also good to remember that the nearer you are to the equator, the stronger UV light will be. This is also true for those living at higher altitudes like in the mountains.
- You’re not safe in your car – just because you’re inside your car doesn’t mean you’re safe from the sun. Consider having your back and side windows with a UV-absorbing film since these are not as protective as the front windscreen. If you’re on a budget, you can also opt for a shade visor or improvise by hanging a blanket to act as a shade.
- Soothe their sunburns – After-sun care children’s skin are a lot more sensitive than that of an adult, so after-sun care is important. If your baby gets a sunburn, take them to the doctor for proper care and management. Keep them out of the sun for as long as possible until the sunburn has healed. Making sure that they’re properly hydrated by giving them plenty of water to drink throughout the day is a great way to protect them from the sun’s damaging effects, too.
Learn more about sun safety for kids at Mom Loves Best