Warm, sunny days are wonderful. It’s good for children and adults to spend time playing and exercising outdoors, and it’s important to do so safely.
While many families rely on sunscreen as their go-to method to prevent excessive sun exposure and sunburn –there are other important ways to keep you and your kids safe when in the sun. Below are some tips that media outlets are free to use with attribution to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Clothes and hats can protect skin – whenever possible, dress yourself and your children in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, such as lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
- Select clothes made with a tight weave; they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better. Or you can look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
- Wear a hat with an all-around 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears, and back of the neck.
- Try to limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when UV rays are strongest.
- Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Look for youth-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child.
- Seek shade for your activities whenever you can.
- Use sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label; that means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays.
- If possible, choose a sunscreen with the mineral ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you can’t find a product with these ingredients, remember that using anysunscreen is better than using no We don’t want anyone to sunburn since sunburning raises the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 (up to SPF 50). An SPF of 15 or 30 should be fine for most people. Research studies are underway to test if sunscreen with more than an SPF of 50 offers any extra protection.
- Apply sunscreen to parts of your child’s skin that may be exposed to the sun, even on cloudy days because the sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds. Make sure to use enough sunscreen. Reapply every 2 hours when outside, and after swimming and sweating.
- Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy. If it’s not possible to find shade, sunscreen may be applied to babies younger than 6 months to small areas of skin that are not covered by clothing and hats – this is because we don’t want babies to sunburn.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows how to protect their skin and eyes. Remember to set a good example by practicing sun safety yourself.
Information on preventing sunburn and safe use of insect repellents is here.