Children need sunshine. It generates vitamin D, promotes a healthy circadian and sleep cycle, and makes them happy. But too much sun exposure can become an early health risk. Children with freckles, light eyes, pale hair, or fair skin are at an even higher risk of sun damage and sunburn with even limited sun exposure.
Sun damage occurs through UVA and UVB exposure. Both sunburn and early causes of skin cancer can occur from over exposure to the sun in childhood. Parents can help their children enjoy sunny days with just a little sun protection planning. Prevent painful sunburns and skin cancer risk by protecting your child's skin each time they play.
What are the best ways to keep your kids sun-safe?
1) Wear Bucket Hats and Caps
Children are most exposed to the sun around the neck, face, and ears. Children's heads are also softer and more susceptible to heat. A hat with a brim can make a big difference in protecting young and growing children from sun exposure. Prevent neck and ear sunburns and the risk of early brain damage by providing brimmed hats to children. Bucket hats provide 360 degree coverage but even a ball cap protects much of the head and angles of the face.
2) Wear Lightweight Longer Sleeves and Pants
Dress children in lightweight clothing that extends sleeves and pants. Long pants and longer sleeves minimize exposed skin. While clothing does not stop all UVA and UVB rays, light covering can help to reduce a child's risk of direct exposure to the sun. Be acutely aware of the balance between sun protection and heat sickness.
3) Keep Everyone Hydrated
Drinking water may not protect kids from the rays, but it does help kids avoid overheating and dehydration when playing on hot, sunny days. Have a refreshment station at the ready - whether that's a carafe of lemonade or a cooler of ice water. Make sure kids know they should come back to rehydrate any time they take a rest from playing. Even a few sips can make a big difference.
4) Apply Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Damage to the skin is done by UVA and UVB rays. UVA causes aging and cancer, while UVB causes sunburns. Typical sunscreen blocks mainly UVB rays. However, you should find "Broad-spectrum" sunscreen for your child when they play in the sun. These sunscreens protect from UVA, UVB, and UVC - the shortest wavelength. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to anywhere your child has exposed skin on the arms, legs, shoulders, neck, and face.
5) Choose High UPF Clothing
UPF is a UV resistance rating designed for clothing. Did you know that some clothing blocks UV rays better than others? Typical clothing can have a UPF of as little as 2% rays blocked while UPF designed clothing can block up to 98% of rays - significantly reducing the chances of skin damage and even sunburn through light summer clothing.
Equip your children with UPF shirts, pants, hats, and face masks with superior UPF rating. You can also keep UPF wraps and scarves like the Salerno Wrap can wrap up your kids when they get out of the pool or used as a stroller shade to protect young children from the sun when they are most at risk.
6) Choose to Play Near Shaded Areas
You can also reduce the amount of sun where your children play. Choosing shaded areas is a great way to reduce heat and skin damage during daytime play. A tree-shaded play area is a great way to keep your daytime play shaded. You can also build or choose play areas covered by awnings, pagodas, and tents as well.
7) Provide Shaded Places to Rest
Even in open, sunny areas, you can provide shade for children by setting up shaded places to rest. Children will naturally seek shade when they slow down between games. Create a place for water and shade so kids can take a break and cool down. When kids have proper sun covering and a shady place to rest, you can significantly reduce skin damage and the risk of overheating.
Keeping children safe when playing in the sun is an important control for parents and teachers alike. Choosing full-spectrum sunscreen, UPF clothing, and providing shady hydration stops can allow kids to have their summer fun in the sun the safe way. Check out luminora UPF children's face masks to complete each child's protective gear for safe outdoor and group play.