Staying Safe in the Sun – Tips for Your Family

Baby Swimming - Sun Safety Tips

Victoria75TallVictoria Nguyen
Mom’s Choice Awards® Intern
College Student

Everyone loves summertime, because cold weather is gone and the sun is out! Did you know that one of the most common injuries children (and adults!) will face is sunburn?

It’s true! Unlike many other injuries, sunburns can be damaging in the long run as a major cause of skin cancer.

Protect your family from harmful sun rays all summer.

In just four easy steps you can protect yourself and your children from the harmful effects of the sun and create healthy habits that will stay with your kids all their lives.

1. Wear sunscreen. LOTS of sunscreen!

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

Right about now, sunscreen stands are center stage in your local grocery and drugstore. With so many different types and brands to choose from and so little time, how do you know which one to pick?  For infants, toddlers, and young children, we recommend, Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen. But no matter what, when choosing sunscreens, here are three factors to think about:

a. SPF- Sun Protection Factor.

“SPF” sounds like a vague, unknown measurement. You may have heard people say, “the higher the SPF number, the better protection it provides.” However, this is not necessarily true.

The SPF number is how long it takes for the sun’s rays to to affect the skin. If you take the number on the bottle and multiply it by 10 minutes, that is how long the sun will protect you for (ex. SPF 30 means 30 x 10 minutes = 300 minutes). But, that doesn’t mean that SPF 90 will protect you for more than half a day!

SPF values are effective up to a certain point. It is recommended that you choose an SPF between 30 and 50, after that it has been proven to provide protection only slightly better, if not the same as SPF 50.

b. Factor in the type of activity.

If you’re looking for an everyday sunscreen, then all you need to worry about is the kind of skin you have and the type of sunscreen you prefer the best (lotion, wipes, spray, gel etc).

However, if you or your kids plan on participating in physical activities outdoors, you need to look into water-resistant/water-proof for swimming and water activities, or sweat-resistant/sweat-proof for other dry activities.

No matter what the activity is, be sure you re-apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours (1-2 if you’re swimming) to have maximum protection against the sun. Maybe even let your children apply and teach them the important areas to apply sunscreen to (nose, cheeks, chest, shoulders, and back).

c. Check the expiration date!

Use Memorial Day as your reminder to check the expiration dates on any sunscreen bottles in your house. It is highly unwise to use expired lotions or sunscreens that have started to harden or thicken.

2. Cover up!
Rashoodz Sunsuit -- Award-winning Children's Products

Rashoodz Sunsuit With Attachable Hat

This is not going to sit well with many kids (or adults), but one of the best protective methods against sunburns is to wear long sleeves and pants. It’s hot out and most of us want to wear tanks, tees, and shorts.

However, clothing protects the skin from direct contact with UVA and UVB rays, especially if it’s made with the right material. Look for lightweight materials with polyester or nylon.

For little kids, we recommend the Mom’s Choice Award-winning SwimZip Rashguard, a UV 50+  swim top, or the Rashoodz Sunsuit with Attachable Hat.

Also, make sure the heads and eyes are covered- the sun can burn the scalp as well as damage the eyes! Invest in light-colored hats and glasses with the label UV 400 or 100% UV Protection.

3. Avoid the midday sun

The sun is the hottest and the UV rays the strongest between the hours of 12pm to 4pm. If you can plan your activities around this period of time, do so, but if it’s going to happen, ensure that you and your children are wearing as much sunscreen and protective clothing as possible.

4. Limit tanning bed usage.

In the late springtime/ early summer, a lot of people will want to look tan to show off.  [I remember wanting that ‘tan’ for prom!]

Tanning beds can expose a person up to 4 times the amount of UV radiation than the sun does. Using the tanning beds too often over time increases a person’s risk for skin cancer, so explain to your kids the dangers of using tanning beds, and suggest they reduce their usage for their benefit.

This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog.

Victoria200TallAbout the Victoria Nguyen

Victoria Nguyen is a college student and social media intern at Mom’s Choice Awards®.


View all posts by Victoria Nguyen here.

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