Sun Safety for Kids

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Sun Safety for Kids

Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is shining my kids want to be out in it! Noa, especially, could spend all day, every day outside. He loves to explore, dig, climb, build, and run. I love that he has such a connection with nature but I do NOT love when he comes in with a burnt neck and hands. As a Melanoma survivor I try really hard to protect my kids from the sun’s harm without scaring them. Here are some ways to increase sun safety for kids!

1. Wear protective clothing and accessories.

If we are going to be out watching soccer games or taking the kids on a hike, I make sure to bring hats, sunglasses, and light jackets if it will be cool enough. We also wear hats, swimsuit cover ups and t-shirts if we are walking to and from the pool.

Rash guards and UVA/UVB blocking swimwear are another great way to cover up while enjoying the sun:

Did you know you can get Melanoma in your eye? You can! Protect your vision by wearing sunglasses when you are outside. I usually stop by the dollar spot at Target for ours but these are super cute, too. I love the black baby aviators!

Hats are great for protecting scalps, ears, necks, and faces from the sun. Kids have thinner hair so their scalps burn more readily than adults. Also, how often to you smear sunscreen on their scalp? Here are some sweet options:

2. Avoid the sun from the hours of 10am-4pm.

This is the time of day when the sun is out, loud and proud. Do yard work in the early morning or early evening. In the summer I often send my kids out right after breakfast and call them in for a snack and some inside time around 10:30. We stay in or run errands after lunch then they can go back out in the later afternoon.

I’m not perfect or super strict about this schedule but I am conscious of it.

3. Wear sunscreen.

-Dermatologists recommend 1 oz of sunscreen to cover the exposed parts of your body. That’s about a shot glass full. Kids can wear a bit less, depending on their size but don’t skimp! Slather it on and take the time to rub it in.

-Choose an SPF 30 or higher that blocks UVA and UVB rays. I buy the highest SPF I can find.

-Apply 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. I always apply it BEFORE we leave for the pool. We have leather seats in our car so I just lay our beach towels across each seat so they don’t get slimed.

-Reapply every 1.5-2 hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.

-If swimming or sweating, choose a water-proof sunscreen.

Here are several great sunscreens for lips, face, and full-body coverage. I especially like the Neutrogena sheer formula for my neck and face:

4. Find or create shade.

Trees, awnings, umbrellas, canopies, tents, etc. Make a habit of looking for the shade and park yourself and your kids in it! Here are some easy shades to invest in:

5. Teach sun safety.

I don’t use scare tactics but I strongly encourage my kids to wear sunscreen to protect their skin. I don’t hide my experience with Melanoma and explain how lucky we are that my doctor caught it early. They know that we are protecting against painful sunburns but also that we are protecting against cancer. They also know the sun gives us Vitamin D and helps us feel happy. We shouldn’t be afraid to go out in, we just need to be smart about it!

Skin cancers are on the rise and the average age for finding is dropping dramatically. The biggest risk factors are light skin/hair/eyes, a family history of skin cancer, and moles on your skin.

HOWEVER: don’t let a darker complexion or tanning easily give you a false sense of security. Dark skin can burn and be damaged by the sun, too. The “pretty” tan is not worth cancer for you or your kids down the road, trust me!

Last, be a good example of sun safety yourself and your kids will follow your lead!

I hope you all have a wonderful spring and summer with lots of time outside!

Rad Mom Cool Kid

Rad Mom Cool Kid