Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Protect Our Kids from Summer Sun
In summer times past,  I can always remember family trips to the beach, with my Dad slathering me down in the highest SPF made and still getting sunburned in some of the  missed spots. Aloe gel and loose clothing became my best friend for the next couple of days. Sunburns are just the worst. Now in my 30s, I take extra precautions to carefully baste myself in sun block and cover up as much as possible. It just proves our parents were right to protect us-- did you know just one blistering sunburn could double your child’s risk of getting skin cancer later in life?
Being out in the sun is great, but too much can be dangerous, especially for children. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day “Don’t Fry Day,” which raises awareness about sun safety. To keep our kids fun in the sun, follow these simple steps and prevent overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays.

Start Protection Early
The American Cancer Society recommends that sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 be applied to children six months and older. Children younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight when possible, but wear sun-protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves if exposed.
Be a Cover Lover
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible. Look for sun-protective clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). The higher the UPF, the greater the UV protection. Remember to apply sunscreen even when kids are under a beach umbrella. The sun’s rays can reflect off surrounding concrete or sand.

Plan Not to Tan
Sun screen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours, about one ounce to cover all exposed skin. Think of the amount of sun screen you should use to be equivalent to the amount in a shot glass. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after sweating, swimming or toweling off.

Keeping your kids in the habit of good sunscreen protection now will open the door for them to be more mindful at protecting themselves from skin cancer later on. No matter how much wiggling or dodging your kids do when it comes time for SunCare, the issue is too important for you not to address it.
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