Even as children return to school, warm weather means weekends are still a perfect time to hit the beach for some family fun. While most people know they should take precautions to stay safe in the sun, it’s easy to forget until a nasty sunburn quickly turns a fun day into a painful night.
Sunburn is no fun. And everyone, no matter what pigment their skin is, can be at risk.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most sun damage to the skin occurs during childhood. That means it’s especially important to protect children’s skin from the sun’s baking rays.
Proper protection can prevent sunburn, possible skin cancer, and even future sunspots and wrinkles, which contribute to premature aging. When your grandchildren are your age, they will be grateful that you protected their skin when they were young.
7 best ways to keep kids safe in the sun
1. Dress babies younger than 6 months of age out of direct sunlight. Trees, umbrellas, or strollers with a canopy are great options while outdoors.
2. Dress children in clothes that cover their arms and legs. Swim covers and clothing with UV protection are best.
3. Protect their face, ears and neck with a hat that has at least a 3-inch brim and protect their eyes with sunglasses.
4. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on children over 6 months of age 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Babies 6 months and younger should not wear sunscreen.
5. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
6. Avoid the direct sun when it is most intense — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
7. Remember that sun penetrates through the clouds, so children can get sunburned even on a cloudy day.
Taking frequent breaks from the sun and staying hydrated are also important. Sunburn leaves the skin red, warm and painful. It can even cause blistering, fever, chills and headaches.
If your child or grandchild gets a mild sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area. If the burn is more extreme with blisters, a fever, or other pain, contact their pediatrician immediately.
Remember: Sunscreen should be used to prevent sunburn and not as a reason to stay in the direct sunlight longer.
Following these simple steps can protect your children from sun damage and allow your family members, at every age, to have fun while staying safe in the sun.