Summer Sun and Your Child; Well, summer is finally here, and with the first weeks of warm, sprawling days comes the overwhelming urge to head outdoors with kids in tow and bask in the sun’s glorious rays. While this may be an enticing thought, don’t forget to pack along the sunscreen and some sun-smart savviness. Your little ones still have thin, sensitive skin and need some form of protection from the sun’s potentially harmful rays.
While there is some debate over the effects of moderate sun exposure, research indicates that repeated sunburns are a factor in several types of skin cancer, including the most deadly; malignant melanoma. Certain medical conditions such as vitiligo (white or depigmented patches of skin) and photosensitive eczema may worsen with exposure to the sun. Add to this the potential for brown spots, cataracts, and premature wrinkling, and it makes many a well-intentioned parent think twice before sending their children out into the seemingly harmless sun.
Summer Sun and Your Child
But by no means must your child be a shrinking violet to the sun; indeed, asking a child to remain indoors during the summer holidays is putting both yours and his sanities at risk.
Armed with the proper knowledge and protection, a little sun worship need not be a bad thing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
– Try to schedule outdoor activities for the early mornings and evenings. The sun’s intensity is greatest between mid-morning and late afternoon.
– Don’t count on shade or cloud cover as a reliable source of protection from the sun’s radiation. Up to 80 per cent of the sun’s rays still penetrate cloud cover.
– Nose, lips, and ears are most susceptible to sunburn. For prolonged outdoor activities, consider UV-protection lip chap and sun block on these sensitive areas.
– Children with fair skin are more likely to burn than their dark-skinned companions (although whatever their skin color, no one is completely immune from sun damage).
– For babies under the age of 6 months, sunscreen is not recommended. Keep them out of direct sun and avoid long exposures. Make the most of sun umbrellas and shade.
– For older babies and children, apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before they head out into the sun and repeat every 60 to 90 minutes (even if they have on waterproof lotion).
– Carry a sunscreen in your diaper bag, so it is always handy.
– Keep your child covered with hats to protect their eyes and face and shirts to protect their upper bod