The temperature is heating up, and your kids are spending more time outdoors. They’re playing; they’re swimming. They need extra sun protection-and so do you!
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest during the summer, and unprotected skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes. While applying a SPF (sun protection factor) 30 sunscreen is important throughout the year, taking extra sun-safety precautions during the summer is especially important.
May is skin cancer awareness month, the most common type of cancer in the United States, diagnosed in more than one million Americans and responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths every year. On the other hand, it’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer.
Try these tips on your next family trip to the beach, pool, playground, ballpark, amusement, or water park.
1) Sunscreen: Your new best friend!
A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 protects the skin from the sun. Apply one ounce of sunscreen (about the size of a ping pong ball) to all sun-exposed areas of the body. Don’t forget the ears, feet and behind the neck. Because sunscreen can take up to 30 minutes to go into full effect, it’s a good idea to apply it at home before you go to the pool or beach.
2) Don’t forget the lip balm and sunglasses!
Choosing the right sunglasses and lip balm also can provide added UV protection for parents and kids. Apply a lip balm that offers SPF protection and reapply throughout the day. Choose wrap-around sunglasses that absorb at least 99% of UV rays to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.
3) Grab a fun hat!
Have a collection of easy-to-access hats for the whole family strategically positioned around the areas your family frequent. And make sure there are a couple of extras for friends and visitors who may have forgotten their hat. Keep a pile in the car, some in your beach bag and a stash around the house. While caps are very fashionable, if you’re going to be in the sun, a broad-brimmed hat offers the best protection.
4) Cover up! Wear sun protective clothing.
Dressing your kids in sun-protective clothing or light, long-sleeved tees will help protect the skin from UV rays, although on a hot day, let’s face it, no kid wants to swelter in extra layers. For better protection, there is specially designed sun-protection clothing with an SPF of 15 to 50, and you can also wear clothing washed with a laundry additive like Sun Guard, which can increase the SPF of clothing. Remember: Clothing isn’t usually a substitute for sunscreen. Choosing clothing that provides good sun protection, in combination with the proper use of sunscreen, can ensure that your child gets the best sun protection possible.
5) Make a summer safety kit!
You never know what the day has in store. At the beginning of the summer, create a travel size kit with all the items you need to keep your family sun safe. Don’t leave home without it! Plus, this is a great family activity that will help your children learn about proper sun protection.
Here are some basic, portable items to put in your kit.
• Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
• Lip balm with SPF 15 or higher
• Hat with a brim or baseball cap
• Long-sleeved shirt
• Sunglasses with UV protection
The good news is that the sun doesn’t have to be your enemy if you follow these easy tips! Happy parenting!