It only takes a few serious sunburns to put your little one at a higher risk for skin cancer later in life. Experts say the prevention of melanoma starts in the pediatric years, so protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is essential. Don’t let sunburns take the fun out of being outdoors this summer -- check out these seven tips for embracing sun safety.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, children should use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The sunscreen should be broad spectrum, meaning it protects your child from both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and give it time to absorb into the skin. And don’t forget to protect their ears, toes and lips!
Chemical or Physical?
Recently, more research has been conducted on the possible dangers of chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens soak into the skin to protect it from the sun, while physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin. Experts have concluded that nine of the 15 ingredients in chemical sunscreens have been shown to be endocrine disruptors. Possible disruption of these hormones could lead to abnormal development and even endocrine cancer. We recommend opting for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide instead.
Watch the Clock!
Limiting sun exposure is all about timing. The American Academy of Pediatrics says between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun is at its peak intensity. When you choose to venture outside during mid-day, be sure to cover up in tightly woven fabrics, find a wide brimmed hat and stay in the shade when possible.
Cloudy Out? You Still Need Sunscreen!
A common myth is that sun protection is not necessary when the weather is overcast. But sometimes the worst burns are the result of a cloudy day! The Skin Cancer Foundation says that about 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds. This is even true during the winter months, because snow can reflect UV light, increasing your exposure.
A Sun Tan is Fine, Right?
Even if your child’s cheeks aren’t pink or red, that doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done. A sun tan isn’t a sign of healthy skin, but rather it means the skin is attempting to protect itself from the UV rays. The natural pigment responsible for tanning your skin, melanin, is the defense mechanism your skin uses to protect itself.
Look for Water and Sweat Resistant
When buying a sunscreen for kids, keep in mind that a water and sweat resistant sunscreen is best. Especially on the beach, at the pool or in the hot sun, these sunscreens can protect against sunburn for 40-80 minutes. Water intensifies the sun’s rays, so little ones need protection that will last in the water and on land. Regardless of the label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when the kids hop out of the pool but no less than every hour.
Should I Pay a Visit to Urgent Care?
Most of us are familiar with a typical sunburn, however, some sunburns are serious enough to warrant a visit to Urgent Care for Children. If their sunburn is accompanied by fever, vision problems, extreme pain, or blisters, it’s time to pay us a visit.
At Urgent Care for Children, we keep your kids happy and healthy all year long by delivering first-class medical care to your little loved ones. If your child is not feeling 100% this summer, come by and see us for quality care any day of the week!