Summer is getting hotter and sunnier, which means more outdoor time for children. While getting all of that sun helps provide them with Vitamin D, it also carries the risk of getting burned from the sun’s ultraviolet light (UV). To avoid the potential health risks of sunburn and enjoy the outdoors safely, follow these sun safety tips:
Apply the Right Sunscreen Regularly
Before your children go out, remember to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is not a “once and done” application and not all sunscreens are created equal. Most sunscreens wear off after about two hours (even those labeled “all-day”), so it’s important to reapply sunscreen to your children regularly.
Look for sunscreens that are no higher than 50 SPF and don’t be fooled into thinking that the higher the SPF the better. Products that claim to be high in SPF often don’t work and people tend to use less of it and not reapply it. Avoid spray sunscreens, as they can be inhaled and don’t provide full skin coverage.
Wear Protective Gear, Including Sunglasses
Hats and other protective clothing can significantly increase sun safety for children when they go out. However, it is a good idea to pair these with sunscreen for optimal protection. Look for light-colored clothing that is designed to block UV rays or clothes with a tight weave. A good rule of thumb is, if you can see your hand through the fabric, it will not provide good sun protection.
Just like their skin, the sun can potentially damage your children’s eyes. Find sunglasses that offer both UV and high-energy visible light (HEV) protection and shield the area surrounding your child’s eyes.
Avoid Direct Sun Exposure, Even On Cloudy Days
The sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which means there is a higher chance of getting burned. Avoid direct sun exposure during these times, staying in the shade as much as possible and using the right sunscreen if direct exposure can’t be avoided.
Even when it’s cloudy and cool out, it’s a good idea to have your children wear sunscreen and protective clothing as they can still be burned by an “invisible sun.” Unlike in the full sun, it’s difficult for children to tell if they’re developing a burn because the cool air keeps the skin from feeling hot.