Even a few serious sunburns can increase a child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. So it’s important that parents take steps to protect their children from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays whenever they are playing outdoors, whether it’s in a bounce house or simply at the park.
Here are five simple ways to keep kids safe from effects of the sun:
- Seek Out Shade — The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the middle of the day. So it’s best to keep indoors as much as possible during these hours. If that’s not practical, encourage kids to play under the shade of a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy.
- Wear Cover Up Clothing — Providing a barrier between the sun and your child’s skin will help prevent them from becoming sunburned. Whenever practical, dress children in long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven fabric.
- Apply Sunscreen — Look for a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and both UVA and UVB protection. Apply it liberally to your children about 30 minutes before allowing them to play outside. Don’t forget the most common places for sunburn: The tops of feet, lips, noses and ears.
- Wear a Hat — Hats provide shade for the face, ears, scalp, and neck, which are prone to sunburn. Hats with a brim provide more protection than baseball caps. If your child chooses to wear a baseball cap, protect exposed areas with additional sunscreen.
- Cool Shades — Protect your child’s eyes from UV rays by providing them with sunglasses. Look for those with frames that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. Too many UV rays can lead to cataracts later in life.
If you are leaving the home, it’s a good idea to take sunscreen with you so you can reapply it throughout the day.