Ahhh... Summer is here, and it's the perfect time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. And after the long winter months, it's likely your kids feel the same way, but are you worried about how to keep them safe from the sun? Don't be — we have some great ideas!
As the Skin Cancer Foundation reports, one major sunburn in childhood can more than double the chance your child will develop skin cancer (melanoma) in their lifetime. Prevention is key, so we've gathered some tips to keep your kids safe.
Use sunscreen daily
Sure, we've all heard it before, but it bears repeating: Sunscreen is vital to protecting your kids from the sun's damaging rays. Here are some tips for effective sunscreen use:
- Use daily, regardless of the summer weather. Clouds aren't protection against ultraviolet rays, so make it a habit to slather on sunscreen every day.
- Choose a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with an SPF of at least 30 for the best results.
- Apply a generous amount 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply it often after that. A good bet is every two hours, even if the SPF is 30 or more, but if your child is swimming, sweating or washing a lot, every hour is a safer option.
- Remember to cover all exposed skin, including the often neglected areas of ears, hands, feet and the lips.
With so many sunscreens on the market, it can be hard to choose the best product for your child, so to help you out, here are three of our favourites:
Limit sun exposure
While using sunscreen is the first line of defence against sun damage, there are other ways to protect your kids from the sun this summer. Limiting their exposure is one of them. Not only is it important for their skin but also for their health, as the chance of falling prey to such illnesses as heat exhaustion and heatstroke rise with the thermometer. It's not always easy to pull your kids away from their fun in the sun, so try these ideas to keep them safe:
- Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its peak.
- Plan a variety of indoor activities to keep kids cool and entertained.
- Set up fun, shady play stations in your backyard so your kids can take a break from the heat and sun.
- Give them plenty of H20 to prevent dehydration.
Not only does limiting exposure to the sun help protect your little ones, but so does their clothing:
- Dress your child in light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- While outdoors, have your kids wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face and neck.
- Buy sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection, and have your children wear them daily while outside to protect their vision for the future.
Per Health Canada, don't apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months of age, but after that, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Regardless of sunscreen use, here are a few other ideas to keep them safe:
- Never leave babies unattended in the sun or in a parked car, even if only for only a few minutes.
- Keep babies in the shade — under a tree, under the sunshade of their stroller or under a gazebo, for example.
- Dress your baby in loose but protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.
- While a toddler or child can ask for water if he's thirsty, a baby isn't quite there yet, so give them lots of fluids to keep dehydration at bay. Be sure to consult with your pediatrician regarding information on the best liquids to quench a baby's thirst.
More on kids' safety
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Safety tips for your latchkey kid
Tips for keeping children safe at home