Skin cancer is a growing health concern in the US. One incident of sunburn can multiply your child’s risk of developing skin cancer, but even without sunburn chronic exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can have lasting harmful effects. Keep your child safe from constant UV exposure by adopting specific UV safety measures and teaching your kids about sun safety.
Hats Are Cool
One way to keep your kids protected is by preventing direct contact from sunlight. When the UV index is particularly high, have your kids wear protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts. Straw cowboy hats work exceptionally well, protecting most of the face and neck. While caps can be more fitting for kids to wear, they don’t provide the same degree of protection as wide-brimmed hats. If you live in a mainly sunny state like Arizona and Nevada or elevated states like Utah and Colorado, consider bringing an umbrella during sunny days. Dark-colored umbrellas can protect you and your kids from 98 percent of direct UV radiation. Carrying umbrellas during sunny days may not be too popular when you were growing up, but the trend is catching on in Europe and even some parts of the US.
Sunscreen Is In
Sunscreen can block up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays but only if you’ve applied it recently. Make it a habit to apply sunscreen on your kids when they would be exposed to the sun for long periods. You can’t limit all their play time indoors, so you better stock up on sunscreen. Sunscreen needs to dry and permeate the skin to be effective, so you’ll need to apply it around 30 minutes before your kids go out. Sunscreen works by both reflecting UV rays away from your skin and providing a layer of protection that absorbs UV rays and dissipates them as heat. Absorbing UV rays break down the active components of sunscreen, making it ineffective after a couple of hours. Make sure you can reach your kids for a quick reapplication to make sure they stay protected as they have fun in the sun.
Car Rides Can Be Safe and Fun
You might think those short rides to school won’t expose your kids to the sun; you’re wrong. Even short 15-30 minute drives can expose your kids to significant amounts of UV, especially when the sun is low and sunlight directly enters your car. Studies in both the US and the UK have linked driving to UV exposure and skin cancer. Everyday commutes are one of the leading causes of chronic UV exposure. You can make your car rides safer with UV tinted windows. Most automotive shops will provide this service, and you can even choose how dark or how clear you want the tint to be.
While everyone expects kids to have fun in the sun, you might be endangering their future if you leave them unprotected. Teach your kids about sun safety and habitually practice measures that will protect them from harmful UV radiation.