Sun Safety

When spring time is here, and it is getting warmer outside, finally our kids can play outside! But if they are going to be out in the sun, especially on a hot day, they need to stay safe.

The sun is a very essential part to growth on our planet. Daily, the sun is sending down light which includes invisible ultraviolet rays. Some ultraviolet rays pass through air and clouds and penetrate the skin. When our skin’s been exposed to too many of these rays, we get what’s known as sunburn. Ouch! Sunburn is bad for our skin and can really hurt.

BY AGE:

0 – 6 months: It is recommended that infants be kept out of the direct sunlight because they are unable to move and change positions in excessive heat. They should be placed in shade or kept out of the sun. Sunscreen: Do not use sunscreen in this age group. Keep them covered with the stroller, hats and light cotton clothing. But definitely go outside and enjoy the fresh air!

6 months to 12 months: It is generally still best to keep this age group out of direct sunlight. Sunscreen: Use sunscreen. The babies skin is still very thin and burns easily even with the use of sunscreen, so it is still VERY important to keep the babies skin covered as much as possible.

12 months and above: Always still best to cover up with light weight cotton and hats as well as using sunscreen!

**REMEMBER: 80% of sun damage occurs before age 18!!!

“Twelve Commandments” of the Skin Cancer Foundation:

1. Minimize sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm (11 am – 3 pm daylight savings time) when sun is the strongest.
2. Wear a hat, long sleeves, and long pants when in the sun. Choose tightly woven materials for greater protection for the sun’s rays.
3. Apply a sunscreen before every exposure to the sun, and reapply it liberally every two hours as long as you stay in the sun. The sunscreen should be reapplied after swimming or perspiring heavily. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun-protective factor) of 15 or more printed on the label. Because most sunscreens are not applied properly, resulting in a lower SPF, parents should also be encouraged to apply sunscreen liberally (approximately 0.5 oz per application per child and 1 oz per application for teenagers and adults) and to reapply every few hours. It is important to avoid the area around the eyes because sunscreen products may cause eye irritation. Also don’t forget to apply some kind of sun protection to the ears, lips, feet, ands and the top of your head.
4. Use a sunscreen during high-altitude activities such as mountain climbing and skiing. At high altitudes there is less atmosphere to absorb the sun’s rays, and your risk of burning is greater. The sun also is stronger near the equator.
5. Don’t forget to use sunscreen on overcast days, since the damaging ultraviolet rays penetrate clouds.
6. Individuals at high risk for skin cancer (outdoor workers, fair-skinned individuals and persons who have already had skin cancer) should routinely apply sunscreen in the morning as basic sun protection. Reapply the sun protective every two hours while exposed to the sun.
7. Photosensitivity-an increased sensitivity to sun exposure- is a possible side effect of certain medications, drugs, cosmetics, and birth control pills. If this occurs, you may need to be extra careful to avoid sun exposure.
8. If you develop and allergic reaction to your sunscreen, change sunscreens. One of the many products on the market today should agree with your skin. Some sunscreens contain PABA which some people are allergic to so be sure to test a small area of skin before applying all over the body.
9. Beware of reflective surfaces! Sand, snow, concrete and water can reflect more than half the sun’s rays onto your skin, even when you’re sitting in the shade.
10. Avoid tanning parlors. The ultraviolet light in tanning booths causes premature aging and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
11. Keep young infants out of the sun. Begin using sunscreens on children at six months of age, and then allow sun exposure in moderation.
12. Teach children sun protection early. Sun damage occurs with each unprotected sun exposure end accumulates over a lifetime.

For more information on kids health and safety topics visit: http://kidshealth.org