Safeguard your kids from UV rays this summer with a few simple strategies. The same advice that applies to kids is good for adults, too. From wearing sunscreen to choosing kids' sun protection swimwear, here are some easy ways to protect the whole family against sun damage.
The mid-day period of the day — especially between noon and 2 p.m. — is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. To avoid sunburn and other risks, stay inside during this part of the afternoon if you can. Of course, that’s not always possible. On days when you are outside mid-day, seek shade under an umbrella or awning. Provide kids with plenty of water to make sure they stay cool and hydrated; ice pops are good, too.
Sunscreen is another important part of protecting your kids and yourself from sunburn and other damaging UV effects. You’ll want a formula with an SPF of no less than 15. The higher the SPF, the longer you can stay outside without getting burned. Make sure to put sunscreen on yourself and the kids at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply often. Even if your kids are wearing boys’ or girls’ cover-ups they’ll still need an application of sunscreen. Applying sunblock every two hours is the general rule, but you’ll also want to reapply after swimming or working up a sweat.
Give sunscreen some backup with sun protection in kids’ clothing. Look for fabric enhanced with UPF 50, which is the highest amount of sun protection you’ll find in apparel. There are all kinds of sun protection clothing items from which to choose, from swimwear to tops and shorts. Choose from one-piece swimsuits for girls and comfortable, elastic-waist swim trunks for boys. There are hoodies and long-sleeve rash guard shirts for girls and boys, too.
Sun protection apparel comes in all kinds of styles, colors, and prints. Even if your child is picky when it comes to fashion, they’re sure to find something they like that has UPF. Although this type of clothing does help safeguard against sun damage, it’s still important for kids to wear sunscreen.
Hats are an important accessory when it comes to protecting kids from the sun. When hat shopping, look less at style and more at protection. You’ll want a sun hat that protects the head, face, ears, and neck. While baseball caps are a style staple, they’re not the best type of hat for protecting against UV rays. Choose headwear with a large brim that goes all the way around for optimum protection. There are all kinds of hats that coordinate well with girls’ and boys’ tops and bottoms, swimsuits, and other types of clothing.
Wide-brim hats come in plenty of styles; for example, there’s the fishing hat. It lends a casual touch to your child’s outfit while providing ample protection against UV rays. Straw hats are lightweight and protect against the sun while helping your child stay cool. No matter what kind of hat you choose, the most important thing is that your child keeps it on while they’re outside.
When choosing your child’s fun-in-the-sun apparel, don’t forget the sunglasses. They’re an accessory that most kids don’t mind wearing due to the “cool factor.” While kids might like the look of sunglasses, parents can appreciate that they protect the eyes against damaging rays. Make sure you select a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays for maximum eye protection. From there, it’s simply a matter of what style or color frames your child prefers.
If your child wears glasses or contact lenses, speak to their optometrist about a pair of prescription sunglasses. There are also glasses that adjust to the light level for optimum eye protection indoors and out.
If your child is going to the pool or beach with a friend, make sure to send them with everything they need to protect against the sun. Beach bags can be filled with sun protection apparel, a bottle of sunblock, and, of course, a hat and sunglasses. Tuck in a beach towel and a change of clothing and your child is all set for their fun summer outing.
These sun-protection strategies aren’t just for sunny days. Even when it’s cloudy, UV rays can still cause skin damage. Make sure you and your kids wear sunscreen every day, and you’re far more likely to keep your skin safe and healthy for the short- and long-term. Teaching your child proper skincare and sun protection strategies is something they can use for a lifetime.