What do you think car seats, bike helmets, seatbelts, and 30spf sunscreen have in common?
Would you agree they are all non-negotiable protective items that should not be forgotten in order to keep children safe? I agree--although I understand the commitment it takes to remember and keep sunscreen on several young children at a time. If you are a busy adult responsible for children this summer, I challenge you to try to make it a habit now to reach for the sunscreen whenever you think the kids will be playing outside for more than 30 minutes.
Here are some tips to keep your child’s skin safe while enjoying the sunshine:
- Put enough sunscreen on to make a difference—experts say at least one ounce of lotion or, if using a spray, saturate the skin being sprayed. If you are preparing for a long stretch of sun exposure around water or sand remember that these surfaces reflect, or intensify, the sun’s rays. So if you are going to a pool or waterpark, put sunscreen on at home and let it soak into the skin for about 20-30 minutes before stepping outside.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or more often if the lotion has worn off after water activities or excessive sweating. Even “waterproof” sunscreen rubs off when a person dries off with a towel—be sure to reapply it if you are going to be staying out in the sun.
- When planning outside activities, keep in mind that the sun’s most damaging rays are between 10am and 4pm. You can make small changes to limit your exposure during these hours such as taking breaks in the shade, using sunglasses & hats, and even covering up with light clothing.
- Remember that exposure to the sun accumulates over time and occurs even on cloudy days—it is not only folks that look ‘lobster red’ that have sustained some damage to their skin.
- Even if your child plays inside most of the time, some sources are now saying that UVA rays from the sunlight coming in through windows can also have a damaging effect on the developing skin of young children. Think ahead and be aware if your child will be going on long car trips where the sun will be shining in on his or her side of the vehicle or if there are play areas in your home near large windows with lots of sun exposure. Applying sunscreen in these situations may be appropriate and necessary.
- Babies can wear sunscreen but since infant skin is extra sensitive be sure to test a small amount of the lotion on the inside of your baby’s wrist. That way you can make sure the baby’s skin doesn’t become irritated and that it is safe to