Sun Safety

kids playing in the sand

Sun Safety

Summer break may be coming to an end, but the hot weather and sunshine is far from over. Now that we’ve settled into the season, it’s easy to get a bit more lax in sun safety. But don’t stop now!! It’s not too late to protect your child’s skin!

Did you know that up to 80% of your child’s entire lifetime sun exposure happens before they turn 18?  Part of the reason for this is that our youngsters’ skin is very sensitive.  And the skin of our kids is more prone to burns than adult skin.

UV radiation leads to skin cancer

We know that repeated UV radiation leads to skin cancer and that the more times your skin burns, the more likely you are to develop skin cancer.  Luckily, there are several things you can do to limit your child’s exposure to UV radiation while still allowing them to be kids and get outside to play.

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!

Apply and reapply often.  Hourly if possible and at least every 2 hours.  If you are going to be swimming or around water, you want to be especially careful to reapply that sunscreen.  Apply at least an SPF of 15, but don’t stress if you can’t find the mega high SPF protection…  the data on SPF higher than 50 doesn’t really show that much of an improvement.  If your little’s skin is super sensitive or they have a history of eczema, try one of the many hypoallergenic formulas.

Stay out of direct sunlight during the peak hours of 10AM and 4 PM

If possible, avoid being out between 10 AM and 4PM as these are the hours that the sun’s rays are the strongest.  If you must be out, stay in the shade.

Wear sun protective clothing

For those of us who seem to burn regardless of SPF count or frequency of sunscreen application, consider wearing sun protective clothing.  Rash guards are great for swimming and overall skin protection while outside.  If you’re going to be out but away from water, keep cool in tight weave cotton fabric and a sunhat.

So get out there and have fun, but be safe and take care of your skin!

 

Author: Dr. Jenny Seawell

Dr. Jennifer Seawell is a board certified pediatrician currently practicing in Tennessee. She is married with 2 daughters aged 7 and 13.

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