Sun-Safe Your Kids And Your Summer
School’s out and kids are soaking up every bit of summer staying out till dark and keep cool and the pool. But just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean there aren’t important lessons to teach your children. Summer is a perfect time to teach your kids about how to be sun safe and the earlier you start the better it is for them.
It has been shown that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) in childhood is one of the most common causes of skin cancer down the road. Dr. Mary Lein states that even one or town heavy sunburns can increase the risk of developing melanoma. “That’s why it is so important to emphasize prevention early in life,” Dr. Lein says.
Teaching your kids early about sun-safe techniques are key in reducing multiple blistering sunburns. Dr. Vernon Sondak says that on average about three fourths of our total exposure to sun occurs by the age of 18. Most of that time is during the hours of intermittent sun exposure but it is important to be protected from the ultraviolet rays.
Some ways to make sure that you are being sun safe is to make sure you reapply your sunscreen on both yourself and you kids every two hours and after swimming. Also, try not to be outside between the peak times of 10am and 2pm when the sun’s rays are the worst. Don’t forget wearing protective clothing and hats to keep the sun off you and most importantly don’t use tan beds.
With so many sunscreens available what exactly should you look for in a sunscreen? According to Consumer Reports, many sunscreens don’t always live up to what they say on the bottle. While all the sunscreens in their test came within 10 percent of meeting their SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor), many of the products scored only fair to poor in their UVA (ultra-violet light, type A). You want to make sure that you pick a sunscreen with a label that says very water resistant or waterproof and has an SPF of at least 30. Of all the sunscreens tested, Consumer Reports the two best were Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 45 and No-Ad Sunblock Lotion Maximum SPF 45.
The best way to teach your kids to be responsible in the sun is to be responsible yourself. So before you head out for a long walk on the beach or some playtime at the pool, make sure you have your sunscreen on. The earlier your start the better off everyone will be.
5 Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer:
The key to safety is common sense.
1. Protect your skin and your children’s skin all year long by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher everyday. Use a waterproof sunscreen.
2. Teach your children sun-protection habits at a young age.
3. Avoid using sunscreens on infants younger than 6 months and keep infants out of the sun.
4. Wear a wide brim hat that protects the face, nose, ears and back to neck. (Baseball cap is better than nothing but it doesn’t do the job.)
5. Avoid the use of tanning salons.
Want to learn more about how to protect yourself from the sun? Check out these websites for more information.
1. American Association of Dermatologist’s information on skin cancer and screenings: http://www.melanomamonday.org/
2. American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/LRN/LRN_0.asp?dt=39