Today is a very hot, sunny day here in St. Louis.  Maya and I spent the morning at the outdoor pool for her swim lessons.  I saw children running around in hats, long sleeve shirts and saw moms reapplying sunscreen over and over again.  It was so nice to see so many kids having fun and so many parents enjoying themselves while keeping their kids protected from the sun.  Protecting our children while they play out in the sun is very important.  Sun protection is their best defense against skin damage and skin cancer.  It is our job as parents to make sure their skin is protected.

It can be hard sometimes, especially with older children, to make sure they always have sunscreen on, are wearing a hat, and have protective clothing on.  I think making sun protection a priority from the very beginning will help as your children get older.  They will eventually know that before they head out the door they must have sunscreen on.  It will be sort of like the seatbelt rule in the car.  No sunscreen, no outside play!

Here are a few tips on making sure your children stay protected while they have fun in the sun this summer.

  • Avoid the strongest rays of the day.  The suns rays are strongest during the middle of the day.  On really hot, high sun index days try to avoid being outside in the direct sun.
  • Cover up.  The best way to protect the skin is to cover it with clothing.  Use loose fitting, cool, comfortable clothing to cover your child’s skin.  You can even buy clothing with built in SPF protection.
  • Provide a shaded area for play.  If you will be spending a lot of time in the sun, like at the beach or the park, make sure there is a shady area for them to spend some time and cool down.  Take a large umbrella or a tent along with you.  Encourage your kids to take a break from the sun by hanging out in the shade.
  • Use sunscreen.  Apply sunscreen before you head out the door and then reapply every 2-3 hours, or after your child has been in the water, all day.  If your child will be in the water make sure to use a waterproof sunscreen.  Even on cloudy, cool days your child should still have sunscreen on.  The UV rays are still damaging to the skin even if the sun itself isn’t out.
  • Use hats and sunglasses to protect your child’s face and eyes from the sun.  Hats are especially important for fair haired children or babies will little or no hair.  It may be a battle to get your child to keep the sunglasses on but try it anyway.

Playing out in the sun is what summer is all about.  Kids would spend all day outside if we let them.  You can help your child stay safe in the sun by being careful, keeping them protected and monitoring their sun exposure.

Have fun this summer and stay safe.

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One Response to Kids and Sun Protection

  • Eve Rickels says:

    During the past decades doctors have become increasingly aware of the increase in skin cancer in the United States and that all people need to protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation (UV). The harm caused by UV includes premature aging (such as wrinkling and age spots), skin cancer, and permanent, sometimes blinding, damage to eyes..::.

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