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Tips for Keeping Children Protected in the Sun

Who doesn’t love swimming in the pool or heading to the park during the summer, especially when you can spend time with your own kids? However, as fun as being outside may be, even the smallest sunburns can greatly increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. With such a high-risk factor, it is crucial that you take sun protection very seriously. Follow these tips to protect your child from the sun and keep them safe during the warm season.

1. Pay Attention to the News for the UV Rating

One of the best ways to tell if your child will need sunscreen is by listening to the daily news and weather channels. They can offer heat advisories and determine if it’s unsafe to be outside based on UV exposure. It’s also wise to follow what local officials say as well.  You can also become familiar with the UV Index Scale.  It has great measurements and recommendations based on the weather and expected UV exposure.

2. Put on Sunscreen Correctly

One of the biggest reasons people still get sunburns is because they don’t apply sunscreen the right way. It’s important that you remember to put sunscreen on your child 30 minutes prior to them going outside. Ensure that you follow the recommended guidelines from the UV Index scale – sunscreen that has an SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of at least 30 is recommended even at the lowest level.  You can try using colorful or scented sunscreen for your kids so they can see what areas on their body are being covered with protection. Remember to apply sunscreen to their hands, nose, ears, shoulders, and neck along with a matching lip balm for their lips.  It is suggested that sunscreen is reapplied every three hours when outside.

3. Wear Eye Protection

Not only can the sun damage your child’s skin, but their eyes as well. Having a good pair of high-quality UV-rated sunglasses can be a great way to protect their eyes when they are outside.  The UV Index recommends that sunglasses be worn even when the index level is at its lowest, so it’s a good idea to have sunglasses with them at all times.  Not sure if their sunglasses have a high enough rating to ensure protection? Zip in to see any optician or optometrist for help.

4. Wear Protective Clothing

Even though sunscreen can protect your skin, you can also protect yourself by covering up when going outside. Going outside with your skin exposed can leave children prone to sunburns that may not show up for several hours.  Instead, dress them in darker colors and long sleeves if possible.  Hats and bandanas are great accommodations to protect their head, face, and neck.   Hoo-rag provides both hats and tubular bandanas that can be worn 10+ ways to help ensure coverage and protection for long hours in the sun.

5. Learn What Heat-Based Illnesses Are and How to Identify Them

To protect your child from heat-based illnesses, learn what they are and how to identify them. One example is heat stroke which is accompanied by headaches, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, cramps, and so on. Learning the types of illnesses your child can run into and how to prevent them can go a long way to helping them have fun in the sun.  Some easy preventions include staying in shady areas when possible, drinking plenty of water, skipping hot meals when outside, and finding an air-conditioned place to play if the weather starts to warm up. Speaking of playtime…

6. Limit Play Time to Hours Early in the Day

During days when the UV Index Scale is high, try to avoid letting your child play outside when the sun is at its strongest. This is usually between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.  It is suggested that you follow this guideline on cloudy days even if it doesn’t seem warm or dangerous. The sun’s rays can still penetrate through the cloud cover and cause sunburns.

Protect Your Child from Developing Too Much Damage From the Sun

It’s important to note that even a few small sunburns greatly increase the risk of your child developing skin cancer. All it takes is 15 unprotected minutes to get a sunburn. However, it takes your skin nearly 12 hours to show the full effects of sun damage. Anyone could get a burn and not know it until the next day.  Playing outside at cooler times of the day while wearing bandanas, appropriate clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses can go a long way to ensuring your child gets a great start in learning how to prevent sun damage and cancer later on. By following these simple tips, you can prevent the pain of a sunburn in the short term and the risk of skin cancer in the long term.