Summer Sun Tips
Summer is magical with all the outdoor activities kids love and parents fear: too much sun comes to mind. A person’s sunlight exposure during childhood and adolescence is generally considered to increase the risk of skin cancer. Here are some tips for sun safety:
- Apply early and repeat. For kids six months and older (as well as adults), sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or greater reduce the intensity of ultraviolet rays that cause sunburns. Apply liberally 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, so it can absorb into the skin and decrease the likelihood that it will be washed off. Reapply every two hours and after kids swim, sweat or dry off with a towel. For most users, proper application and reapplication are more important factors than using a product with a higher SPF.
- Cover. Dress kids in protective clothing and hats. Clothing can be an excellent barrier of ultraviolet rays. Many light-weight sun-protective styles cover the neck, elbows and knees.
- Keep infants out of the sun. Keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight, dressed in cool, comfortable clothing and wearing hats with brims. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says sunscreen may be used on infants younger than six months on small areas of skin if adequate clothing and shade are not available.
- Plan early morning play. For kids beyond that baby stage, plan outdoor activities to avoid peak-sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) as much as possible. Sound impossible for your active kids? Make sure you all can get a break from the sun, when needed.
- Beware of shade. Many people think sitting in the shade is a simple sun compromise. Shade does provide relief from the heat, but it offers parents a false sense of security about ultraviolet ray protection. You can still sunburn in shade, because light is scattered and reflected. A fair-skinned person sitting under a tree can burn in less than an hour.
- Stay hydrated. You may be surprised how much – and when – kids should drink liquids. To prevent dehydration, kids should drink 12 ounces of water 30 minutes before an activity begins and take mandatory fluid breaks with kids under 90 pounds drinking five ounces every 20 minutes during activities and kids over 90 pounds drinking nine ounces every 20 minutes. Tip: A child’s gulp equals a half-ounce of fluid, so your child should drink about 10 gulps for every 20 minutes of play.