Sun Safety for Kids: Three Tips from Dr. Whitney Bowe
Did you know that just a few bad sunburns can increase your little one's risk of getting skin cancer later in life? While this fact is nothing short of terrifying, it’s important to be well-informed so you can make the best decisions regarding sun safety. Whether your child is splashing in the pool or running errands by your side, their skin needs to be protected.
Luckily, New York board-certified dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, Dr. Whitney Bowe, has teamed up with Cabana Life to talk all things sun protection. Let’s take a look at her three tips for keeping kids safe in the sun.
1. Apply Sunscreen Like Clockwork
While applying broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential for anyone’s sun safety, it’s especially crucial for young, delicate skin. However, before you grab any bottle at the supermarket, it’s important to understand exactly how much protection you’ll be getting.
Sun protection factor (SPF) is “[the] number that tells you how long UV rays would take to burn your skin [when] using the product as directed, as compared to using no sunscreen,” Dr. Whitney Bowe explains. For example, if you opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, it will take you 15 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing anything. Simple enough, right?
To get the best results from your sunscreen, apply it generously wherever skin is exposed at least 30 minutes before you and your kiddos head outside. This gives you plenty of time to let your sunscreen soak in. And while applying SPF to your little one’s arms and legs is a no-brainer, you should pay special attention to more sensitive areas, like the ears, lips, and tops of the feet. One last sunscreen-related tip? Don’t forget to reapply! You should lather your kids up every two hours to ensure they have constant protection.
2. Cover ‘Em Up
There are many different ways to keep your kids safe in the sun, but one of the best and easiest methods is to cover them up. We suggest outfitting your little ones in sun protective beachwear, thereby keeping their skin safe from the sun's harmful rays. Cabana Life offers a wide variety of sun-protective options like rash guards, swim shorts, and more that your kids will love to wear all summer long.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because your skin is covered by fabric, doesn’t mean it’s completely protected. For example, clothing items with loose weaves (like white t-shirts) provide little to no protection from the sun. That’s why it’s essential to look for beach and swimwear with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 50+. Similar to SPF (which indicates the effectiveness of your sunscreen), UPF measures how well a specific fabric blocks ultraviolet (UV) rays.
In addition to keeping your kids safe from the sun, UPF clothing is a convenient alternative to sunscreen. All you have to do it dress your little ones up, apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, and you’re good to go! According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, when you outfit your child with UPF protective clothing, you’ll have “less stress, less mess, and more time to enjoy [with your] family.”
3. Take to the Shade
UV rays are strongest during the midday hours, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. So be sure to plan on seeking shade during that time. This means bringing an umbrella or tent to the beach and making sure to take some time to relax in the shade every few hours.
“No matter how powerful your sunscreen may be, it’s no match for midday sun,” Dr. Whitney Bowe explains, “and not all shade is created equal.” In fact, research has shown that standard beach umbrellas don’t provide as much protection as many users think. To determine how effective your umbrella or beach tent is, pay attention to how your skin feels. If you feel any warmth while sitting under it, the shade is probably not effective. In that case, take a break from your umbrella and find an area that feels cool and comfortable. When in doubt, bring your family indoors for a snack or water break.
It’s important to remember that, even on cloudy or cooler days, UV rays can be quite strong. Plus, reflected light makes even the shadiest of outdoor places potentially hazardous. Therefore, it’s best to lather your little ones up with sunscreen any time they head outside.
When it comes to summertime fun, your kids’ sun safety is paramount. That’s why Cabana Life is here to keep your whole family protected all summer long. Browse our new arrivals for stylish, sun-safe clothing options for your entire crew!