One of the things kids love most about summertime is spending time outside and soaking up the sun. Being outside in the summer months has endless benefits for your children, but it’s important to recognize that there are risks and to know how best to avoid them.
Skin Care in the Sun
The sun’s rays are especially strong in the summer which means it’s even more important to be diligent about protecting your kids’ skin when they’re outside. Even on overcast days it’s important to shield skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- The most obvious was to protect your child’s skin is to apply sunscreen.
- Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays
- Go for creams that are sweat and water resistant
- Make sure to get one with an SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of at least 30
- When your kids are playing outside set a timer to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours
There are plenty of sunscreen options out there for everyone. Check in with your Pediatric Care Group pediatrician if you need help choosing the right sunscreen for your family.
Another great way to save your kids’ skin from the harmful effects of the sun is to dress them in clothing that will protect exposed areas. UV-protection sunglasses and hats are excellent for an added degree of protection for the head, face, ears, and neck.
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid sun exposure in the summer. But, when possible, seek out shade! If you plan on being outside for a long period of time, find a nice shady spot under a tree or bring your own shade in the form of a beach umbrella or tent. Try to limit direct sun exposure during the sun’s peak hours, usually between 11am and 3pm during the summer. Shade is especially important in protecting the skin of young infants as sunscreen is not recommended until six months of age.
Heat Related Illnesses
In addition to protecting your kids’ skin from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s also important to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated when playing outside. Summer can bring extremely hot temperatures and young children are especially at risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion. But, don’t discourage your kids from running around outside and exercising just because it’s hot out. Here are some tips to keep children safe in hot weather:
- Allow your kids to gradually adapt to the heat, increasing periods of activity or exercise gradually
- Provide water or sports drinks every 20 minutes
- Dress in a light, single layer of moisture wicking clothing
- Plan for extra breaks
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to mean drinking tons of water, which for some kids can be quite boring. Try these fun hydration hacks this summer to keep kids safe and avoid heat related illnesses:
- Add a splash of flavor- Citrus, cucumber, or berry-infused water can make plain. old water more interesting and encourage kids to drink more.
- Invest in a fun water bottle and bring it everywhere.
- Have fresh fruits and veggies available, they are full of water!
- Make homemade fruit ice pops as a fun way to hydrate and cool off.