As we get closer to the summer season, it becomes critical to protect yourself and your children from the sun's warm and enjoyable--yet potentially harmful--rays. In addition to causing burns, the sun can begin inflicting other forms of damage early on, possibly leading to skin cancer down the road for your little ones. Therefore, it's essential that you take the time to provide your kids with safe and effective sun protection tools. Here are some key components to utilize in order to keep your kids safe and happy in the sun this summer.
While your child may put up a fuss about having to wear clothing outside in the hot sun, keeping their wellbeing in mind takes precedence. Delicate toddler and baby skin requires special attention as it is particularly susceptible to the sun's damaging rays, and the most effective way to keep your kids safe is by using the dual protection of clothing and sunscreen. Clothing has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), and the higher the number, the lower the amount of ultraviolet rays that is able to penetrate through to skin. Regular cotton t-shirts only have a UPF factor of about 5, which signifies that one-fifth of the sun's UV rays is able to reach skin, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. On the other hand, clothing that is specifically designed for sun protection, like these children's swim shirts from The Honest Company, can provide a UPF of 50, allowing only 1/50th of the sun's UV rays to shine through. Clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher is what The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends for great sun protection. Sun hats are also important for keeping your kids' heads safe from the sun. When deciding on a sun hat for your child, you should take into consideration how large of an area of skin it will shield.
In spite of the fact that your child may be wearing a sun-safe shirt, it's important to consider the fact that they may try to remove the clothing or simply become too hot to keep it on any longer. This is why it's even more critical to remember to apply sunscreen to your kids. Choosing a sunscreen for your child can be a hassle if your child has delicate or sensitive skin, which is very common. Sunscreens that are specifically formulated for children and do not contain fragrances, parabens or harsh, potentially-irritating ingredients are your best bet. Kids Broad Spectrum SPF-50 Sunscreen from Nature's Gate is a mild yet effective vegan sunscreen that can keep your child's delicate skin safe and free from sunburn when used properly. It also contains extracts of aloe vera and calendula to aid with soothing and softening skin. If your child is under the age of six months, they should not be exposed to the sun. Children over the age of six months need to have sunscreen applied daily about 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapplication is one of the most important aspects of maintaining great sun protection, so you should re-apply sunscreen to your children every two hours or after intense sweating or swimming.
Keeping your kids hydrated throughout the day is another important thing to remember when it comes to keeping them safe in the sun. While water is always the best option, if your child just isn't big into it, there are other options for hydrating them in a way that they will actually enjoy. Water-heavy fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers and oranges are several yummy and healthy food options that can supply some water and help nourish your child, though they are not a substitute for water on its own. Additionally, drinks with added electrolytes may be beneficial for your children, as the amount of electrolytes in your child may deplete if they become dehydrated out in the heat.
Other Sun Safety Tips
In addition to sunscreen, clothing and staying hydrated, there are other factors to consider when it comes to your children staying safe outside this summer. The risk of heatstroke potentially occurring is something to be aware of. The Mayo Clinic states that heatstroke is likely to occur when the body's core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and at this point it is critical to get immediate medical attention. To prevent heatstroke, make sure you monitor the amount of time your child spends out in the sun, and provide them with plenty of beverages to maintain fluids in their body. Taking frequent breaks from sweltering heat is also crucial, as is making sure your child cools off in a shady area or indoors with air conditioning. Additionally, it's best to prevent your child from partaking in outdoor activities that utilize a lot of physical exertion and energy, as this can further contribute to heatstroke, dehydration or other adverse effects.
Make it a priority to keep your kids safe in the sun this summer. Check out our selection of summer essentials for both you and your child today at eVitamins!