It’s summer time and the sun is shining upon us! While your kids are gearing up for days at the pool or the beach, you’re thinking about how to protect them from damaging sunrays. Sunscreen is an effective way to protect our kids from both short- and long-term effects of sun exposure, but it doesn’t stop there. Choose the right forms of sun protection with these tips:
Keep babies out of direct sun.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, it is recommended that children under the age of six months should not be exposed to the sun. The sun’s rays and the ingredients in sunscreen can damage their sensitive skin. The best way to protect infants and toddlers from the sun is to seek shade and to use protective clothing.
Age guidelines for sun exposure and sunscreen:
- 0-6 months: Should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen.1
- 6-12 months: It’s now safe to use sunscreen.
- Toddler/preschool age: Protecting toddlers from the sun requires a little more thought and effort. It is important to educate your child and their caregivers.
Be picky – not all sunscreens are built equally.
- The Melanoma Research Foundation suggests to protect your children from both UVA and UVB radiation by using sunscreens marked “broad spectrum.”2
- Choosing a product with an SPF value of 30 is key to ensuring proper protection in the sun.
Did you know?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF number indicates how much protection the sunscreen offers against the sun’s ultraviolet B rays (UVB), which cause most skin cancers and sunburns. But research has shown that exposure to ultraviolet A rays (UVA) can also increase skin cancer risk. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, they penetrate deeply into skin and cause wrinkles.
Timing is everything.
Try to stay out of the sun during peak daytime hours (approx. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – while it is directly overhead).
Did you know?
According to The Sun Safety Alliance, children get three times more exposure to the sun than adults.3
Make a fashion statement.
Wearing sunglasses, baseball caps and wide brimmed hats are fun ways to accessorize your family while effectively adding protection from the sun.
Don’t be fooled by the cool.
Being in the pool or ocean is where a lot of us can get into trouble. The coolness of the water can hide sunburn, particularly when we are distracted with fun activities such as swimming or pool games. Remember to check your skin and reapply sunscreen as needed.
I hope these tips help you understand the importance of sunscreen for your children this summer!
Dr. Damoui is a Family Medicine physician who practices out of MemorialCare Medical Group’s office in Fountain Valley.
- Family Medicine