It’s that time of year again: beach trips, pool days and fun in the sun. Enjoying the longer days together as a family, outdoors, is one of this season’s greatest pastimes. While soaking up the extra time together make sure you stay mindful of the effects the sun can cause without proper sun protection. Just a few minutes outdoors can lead to sunburn which can double your child’s risk of developing melanoma in the future.
Lather the Sunscreen
Sunscreen is key to summer outdoor play. Whether the sky is cloud-free or overcast, the risk of sun damage is still present, so be sure to cover all exposed skin with sunscreen. Don’t skimp on more delicate areas such as the back of the knees, ears, areas around the eyes and scalp. Reapply every 80 minutes or less to ensure consistent coverage. If you plan to enjoy water activities opt for the waterproof variety. Both spray and lotion versions are effective. Ideally aim to choose an SPF of at least 30, especially for younger children with the most delicate skin. The safest options include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these are less harsh on the skin and don’t absorb into the skin as much as some other ingredients do. Choose the broad-spectrum variety which protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Eye Protection is More Than a Fashion Statement
Sure, sunglasses are a fun outfit staple, but they also provide ample eye protection year around. Get your kids excited about wearing sunglasses by having them choose styles or designs that they love. Make sure they cover the full eye area and fit properly over the ears. Many kid-sized sunglasses offer a level of SPF protection. If your child is anti-glasses, or may wear glasses for all-around vision, a hat is also a great option to protect their face. Choose a wide brim style to cast shade on their entire face.
Shade is Important
When spending the day outdoors find a shady spot to enjoy in between the sunshine. Set up a beach umbrella for sandcastle fun outside of the sun. Limit sun exposure between 10AM and 4PM when the sun is at its strongest. Shade allows you to take frequent breaks from sun exposure while still enjoying your time outdoors. Speaking of breaks, make sure that your kids properly hydrate throughout the day. A day in the sun can feel draining to younger children so proper hydration, nutrition and rest is imperative to a healthy day outdoors.
Although parents take many precautions, when it comes to sun protection, sunburns can still occur. Sunburns are a common occurrence felt by many throughout their lifetime. If your child experiences a sunburn, without blisters or other symptoms, you can treat them with cool compresses, aloe vera gel application and OTC pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If the sunburn is severe, or accompanied by other symptoms, be sure to contact your health care professional.