Heading outside? It’s crucial to protect your child's tender skin from the sun’s intense rays. Before you step out the door, slather on the sunscreen and check out these additional sun safety tips:
Every child needs sun protection! The lighter someone's natural skin color, the less melanin it has to absorb UV rays and protect itself. The darker a person's natural skin color, the more melanin it has...but ALL kids (and people) need protection from UV rays. Any tanning or burning causes skin damage. Even the smallest members of your family need to wear sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics states babies less than six months old can have sunscreen on small areas of their bodies if they are going to be outside (for example, their face or the back of their hands). At this age though, the best recommendation is to stay out of the sun when possible.
Time flies when you're having fun! Being outside for long periods of time can put your skin in danger. Also keep in mind, being outside around water or snow help the sun's rays reflect -- making it easier for you to burn. Limit outdoor playtime between 10a.m. and 4p.m. if possible. Avoid unnecessary exposure when the sun's rays are at their strongest. Even on cloudy or cooler days, ultraviolet (UV) rays remain strong. Shady spots can be just as tricky because of reflected light. If your child is playing outdoors during these hours, make sure to apply sufficient amounts of sunscreen. Sunscreen can come in gels, sprays, lotions, or even wipes. Sunscreen helps to reduce damage that can occur from UV radiation; however, it does NOT eliminate the damage. Generously apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes out in the sun and choose a sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher. Scented and colorful sunscreens appeal to some kids and make it easier to see which areas have been covered well. Don't forget nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck. Lips can also burn, so apply a lip balm with SPF protection. Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, or after sweating or swimming.