Here are some handy tips to keep your child safe while in the sun:
- Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., try to stay in the shade as much as possible because the sun’s rays are strongest during this time.
- Make sure your child is wearing a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection. Sunscreen should even be worn on cloudy days.
- Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before your child goes outside to allow for proper absorption.
- Some of the most forgotten places for sunscreen are the lips, ears, hands, feet, and back of the neck, so make sure to cover these areas on your child.
- Reapply your child’s sunscreen every few hours to provide adequate protection while swimming and enjoying the sun.
- Encourage your child to stay hydrated by providing plenty of cool water. Add fruit slices to water to give the beverage a fun kick.
Staying safe in the sun now will benefit your child in the future. Skin cancer is a scary and common disease that affects millions daily. Though this disease commonly strikes those in their 50s, skin damage can start at an early age if proper sun protocol is not followed. The simple act of applying sunscreen today during outdoor activities can help your child fight wrinkles and sunspots when he is older. By teaching your child how to protect himself from the sun now, you will be providing a base for healthy sun safety behavior for the rest of his life.
Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and a master’s degree in public health education. She can be contacted at (859) 236-7176.