You probably remember having at least one bad sun burn as a child. Regardless of your age or skin type, you’re at risk of sun damage. Kids love to play outside, and they could care less what’s going on with their skin. In order to reduce their risk of skin damage and shield them from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s important to get them started with sun protection at an early age.
• People with fair skin have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than those with dark skin, although those with light skin tend to catch abnormalities earlier.
• Limiting sun exposure at any age can decrease your risk of melanoma.
• The sun is strongest from 10 am to 4 pm. Help kids stay protected if they’re playing outside during that window of time by steering them toward the shade and dressing them in sunblock swimwear.
• Shorts and tank tops don’t provide complete coverage, especially if they’re not made from UV-shielding fabrics. Dress kids in breathable long-sleeved rashguards with 50+ UV protection when you can.
• A sun hat can safeguard your child’s face, ears and neck.
• If you’re going to be outside all day, bring a canopy or tent for the kids to play in.
• Children over six months should wear sunscreen.
• Babies under six months should stay in the shade or wear sun protective clothing.
• The sun can cause immediate or long-term eye damage. Kid-proof sunglasses with 100% UV protection will counteract this. Getting them used to wearing sunglasses when they’re younger will help kids keep them on throughout their lives.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Even if your kiddo wiggles like a worm while you’re applying sunscreen, it’s worth protecting their delicate skin from sun damage, even if that damage won’t show up until later in life.
Set a positive example and let your kids see you applying sunscreen to your own skin. Add to your peace of mind by throwing on some sun protective clothing. It only takes a second to put on a rashguard or pop on a sun hat, but the benefits of being sun safe can be everlasting.