As a parent, you’ll try to do whatever it takes, you can to protect your child. Keeping them safe from broken bones and illness is one part of your job, but keeping them safe from the sun is just as important! Children spend a lot of time outdoors.
Did you that in only 15 minutes of your child being outside, their skin begins to be damaged by the sun. Here are some easy, safe, and practical sun safety skills to help protect your child!
Stay in the shade when you can!
Encourage your children to play in a shaded area. Rather that’s under an umbrella, a tree, or another outdoor structure – anything that offers shade will do. By playing the the shade, you are effectively limiting exposure to UV rays which are the main cause of sunburns, heat rash, and other sun-related injuries or illnesses.
Even if your child is playing in the shade, you’ll still need to follow the other tips for full sun protection.
Wear protective gear when out in the sun!
You don’t want your child to get too hot while they play outside, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear some extra protective gear. Lightweight and protective clothing is a great option to limit UV ray exposure for your child.
For example, sunglasses are an excellent option to protect the sensitive skin around the eyes and the eyes themselves. Hats are another fun way to block the sun from your child and limit UV exposure. And when possible provide your child with lightweight clothes including long sleeve shirts, pants, or similar articles to limit direct skin contact with UV.
Take your child shopping and let them pick out a hat and pair of sunglasses that they like to increase the likelihood that they’ll wear it. Dark clothing with tightly wound materials is also helpful in protecting their skin. Once clothes become wet, they’re protective abilities decrease dramatically.
Apply Sunscreen frequently!
Sunblock with an optimal SPF is the best tool to protect your child against the sun. They make sunscreen specially formulated for the sensitive skin of babies and young children. Make sure the sunscreen has an SPF value of at least 30 in order to effectively protect your child from UV rays. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, and then reapplied once every 2 hours. If your child is swimming, it will need to be reapplied every time they get out of the water.
Teaching your child the importance of sunscreen at a very young age will encourage them to continue sun safety as they get older. Teach them about how quickly the sun can damage their skin and remind them that even on an overcast day, sun damage can occur.
You might not be able to protect your child against all the dangers in the world, but you can protect them against the sun! While you’re teaching your child the importance of protecting their skin, make sure you take the time to protect yours too. After all, they learn best by watching what their parents do!