Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Sun Safety Tips for Young People

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just a single bad sunburn in childhood more than doubles the odds that a person will develop dangerous melanoma later in life. Sounds scary, but luckily there are lots of ways to keep your little ones’ skin safe during the summer months when burns are more likely to happen.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a wide spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ on children older than six months. (Babies younger than that should be covered up, as they’re too young for sunscreen.) Spray-on sunscreens, which should not be applied directly to kids’ faces, are excellent for squirmy toddlers. Remember that everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, no matter how dark his/her complexion, so protect all kids. And although parents often think of sun protection only before trips to the pool or all-day outdoor adventures, remember to use sunscreen before even shorter excursions outside. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - the CDC - notes that, "Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. So, if your child’s skin looks “a little pink” today, it may be burned tomorrow morning. To prevent further burning, get your child out of the sun."

When kids and water mix on hot summer days, think about protecting areas that are often overlooked when applying sunscreen, like the underside of children’s chins, noses, and earlobes. Sun reflected upwards from the water can burn just as readily as sun that comes from the sky. Also, be sure to use water resistant sunscreen and to follow the directions carefully. Lots of parents forget to wait between application and swimming and don’t reapply as often as they should when water is involved.

The American Optometric Association reminds us to look beyond kids’ skin at the lake, beach, or pool. According AOA, 25% more UV rays get reflected off water and sand than are already coming from the sky. Because children’s eyes don’t filter out the sun’s rays as effectively, their retinas get blasted with three times the annual dose of UV exposure that adults’ eyes do. So, for summer fun on non-reflective surfaces, be sure to pop a hat with a brim on your little ones. And kids should wear wrap-around sunglasses when they’re on water or sand.

Got a teenager who insists that tan is cool? Help her investigate some of many the tanning lotions and sprays. They’re perfectly safe and will help her resist the temptation to bake in the sun (or worse, a tanning bed).

No matter how vigilant adults are about slathering sunscreen on their kids though, the best thing they can do is lead by example. Parents who bemoan their pale legs or sunbathe doused in baby oil are demonstrating that sun exposure is perfectly safe, and this lesson speaks louder than any carefully worded lecture about sun protection.

No comments:

Post a Comment