In the summer—or any season for that matter—protecting your kids from the sun’s harmful rays is a must. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is estimated that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood—that one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. Protect your children now so that you can protect them for a lifetime from skin cancer and other skin conditions.
The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer five important steps to sun safety for children. By following these tips, you can continue to protect your children from the harmful effects of the sun:
- Limit outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Even when it is cloudy or cool out, the ultraviolet (UV) rays continue to remain strong. Shady areas can even be tricky because of reflected light.
- Apply sunscreen properly. Thirty minutes prior to your child going out in the sun, it is important to apply sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 or higher. Scented or colorful sunscreens might appeal to some kids and can even make it easier to see which areas have been covered properly. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget the nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders and behind the neck.
- Cover up. Wearing protective clothing is also an excellent choice in protecting your children from the sun’s harmful rays. When wet, light-colored clothing transmits just as much sunlight as bare skin, so keep your kids covered in dark colors, long sleeves and pants whenever possible. Also, don’t forget the sunglasses and hats for added protection.
- Understand your child’s medications. Some medications can increase your child’s skin sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to ask your doctor whether your child is at risk or not. The most notorious culprits of this sensitivity tend to be prescription antibiotics and acne medications.
- Set a good example. Remember, your children will often mirror your actions so make sure you follow these sun safety rules as well. Skin protection is not only important for children, but it is vital for every member of the family—regardless of age. Team up with your children and stay protected when life brings you outside to bask in the sunshine.
Contact your dermatologist for more information on how you can successfully protect your children from the sun’s harmful rays. While it is not required to avoid the sun altogether, your dermatologist does urge you to take every precaution possible to protect your child for a lifetime.