Children will always look forward to summer, when they can spend long relaxing days under the heat of the sun. Long before school is over, children may already have in mind certain activities they want to do. To add to that, parents may also plan out beach vacations and other fun activities for the entire family.
Along with the fun of summer comes the risk of certain health conditions and even health risks. It is then important for parents to take certain measures so that these can be avoided. Here are some general summer safety tips to protect your kids from the sun:
1. Try to limit your child’s sun exposure. While spending lazy afternoons at the beach can be fun, you need to limit the time your child spends outdoors. Keep in mind that the sun’s rays are strongest from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.
While staying under shades such as trees or umbrellas provide some protection, it still could not totally offer complete sun protection. Plan your child’s activities wisely, and try to have him avoid sun exposure during midday. Remember, even a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk in developing skin cancer.
2. Always make sure that your child uses a sunscreen. Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen on your child 30 minutes before going outdoors. . Before purchasing a sunscreen, read the label. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protector Factor or SPF of 15 or higher. It is also best that you purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection, against both UVA and UVB rays.
Use a water resistant sunscreen, if your child swims or engages in a physical activity that can promote sweating. Waterproof sunscreens usually provide protection up to 80 minutes, but you may also reapply sunscreen each time your child comes out of the water. To add to that, sunscreens should also be reapplied after two hours or when necessary.
Be certain that you supervise how long your child stays out in the sun. Although sunscreens provide some protection from the sun, it does not completely eliminate damage that can be caused due to overexposure.
3. Dress your child appropriately during hot weather. Along with sunscreen, wearing protective clothing can also decrease the damage caused by the sun. If you need to stay outdoors, make sure that your kids use wide-brimmed hats and clothing that can cover the body. If your family spends time at the beach, make use of shades like umbrellas, pop-up tents or any other sun-protective gear.
It is also very important that you take steps to protect your child’s eyes. A day out in the sun can lead to a burned cornea, while long-term effects can result to cataracts. Encourage the use of sunglasses that can provide 100% UV protection. Your child may initially resist the use of these, but try to be persistent. You may give your child some autonomy by allowing him to choose a particular design.
4. Make sure that your child stays well hydrated. Although sunburns are common during summer, heat related illnesses can also occur when your child does not take in enough fluids. Have your child avoid beverages containing caffeine because it can increase the body’s fluid needs. Strenuous physical activities should also be avoided when the sun’s rays are strongest. When outdoors, have your child wear lightweight clothing, and be sure that he regularly drinks fluids at intervals.
5. Before spending some family time under the sun, determine any potential effects of any medication that your child is taking. Certain antibiotics and acne medications can increase sun sensitivity. Talk with your child’s doctor so you can protect your child from the sun. This is vital because some medications can cause a child’s skin to burn in just a matter of minutes.
As adults, we even look forward to hot summer days when we can spend some fun activities under the sun. For kids, summer days can be more appealing with the myriad of activities that they can do under hot weather. Thus, it is vital that parents ensure that kids are safe while playing under the sun.
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