Summer vacation is a much-anticipated break for kids and one that often includes lots of time outdoors playing, riding bikes and swimming.
But summer break also means that the child or children in your life will get more than usual exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. And that means that parents, grandparents and babysitters need to be extra vigilant to practice sun safety tips during the hot summer months.
“We don’t treat children at Price Skin Care Clinic, but many of our patients have children and grandchildren who enjoy the summer sun,” said Richard Price, M.D., of Price Skin Care Clinic in Ridgeland, MS. “Much of the advice we give to our patients is good for children as well. And adults need to know that a child’s sunburn can damage their skin and put them at risk for skin cancer. So it’s never too early to practice sun safety habits.”
To keep the children you love safe from the sun, we recommend these three sun safety tips.
Sun Safety Tip #1: Sunscreen isn’t just for Adults
A child’s skin is as sensitive to the sun as an adult’s so don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your child 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Be sure to:
- Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Cover all exposed skin, including the nose, ears, tops of feet and any skin on their head not covered by hair.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours as well as after swimming or sweating.
- Apply sunscreen anytime you’re outdoors – even on cloudy days. The sun’s harmful rays are present even when cloudy.
- Don’t forget to set a good example by applying sunscreen to yourself as well. Your children are watching you!
Sun Safety Tip #2: Choose protective clothing
- T-shirts and shorts may feel more comfortable during high summer temperatures, but when possible, dress your child in lightweight, long-sleeved shirts
and pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection. They’ll still look cute and they’ll be doubly protected from the sun.
- It might be fashionable to wear white, pastels and loose-knit fabrics in the summer, but these don’t offer as much protection as clothes made from fabric that is tighter-woven and darker.
Sun Safety Tip #3: Limit time in the sun
It’s never a good idea to stay out in the sun all day long. Both children and adults should limit their exposure to the sun. This is especially true for children, whose skin can be more sensitive and prone to damage more easily.
- Try to schedule your daily activities to avoid the sun’s strongest rays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. That may mean getting up early and spending a couple hours at the pool or beach and then heading inside for games, lunch, a movie (or nap!) until mid-to-late afternoon when the sun’s rays grow weaker.
- Don’t forget that water, snow and sand reflect the sun’s rays which can multiply the chance of sunburn. Be extra careful in these environments and remember that cold temperatures don’t mean that the sun isn’t doing a number on your skin.
Summer Sun Safety Lessons
Kids may be out of school in the summer but that doesn’t mean they should stop learning. Use the summer to teach the children in your life about sun safety.
After all, it’s our responsibility as adults to not only protect our kids from the sun’s harmful rays but to teach them how to protect themselves as well.
If you know someone with children or grandchildren who would benefit from this article, please share.