Sun safety is not just a beach day affair, but an everyday necessity that parents need to prioritise for their children. With the harmful effects of UV rays becoming more apparent with each new study into skincare, it’s essential to educate children and parents alike about the importance of sun safety.
Provided below are the main reasons why sun safety is vital, as well as how parents can ensure their children are adequately protected from UV rays.
Protects from Skin Cancer
The most significant reason for sun safety is preventing skin cancer.
In fact, childhood exposure to UV rays is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. That’s why it is vital to a child’s future well-being that they practise appropriate sun safety from a young age. Parents must play the vital role of educators, imparting to their children the dangers of UV rays, and the importance of sun safety.
Sunburn is a painful skin condition caused by exposure to UV rays. Sunburns can cause severe pain, blistering, peeling, and long-term skin damage. Sunburns can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Therefore, it’s essential to protect children from sunburn by ensuring they wear protective clothing, use sunscreen, and avoid being in the sun for prolonged periods.
UV rays can also damage the eyes, leading to a range of eye problems, including cataracts, pterygium, and macular degeneration. Children’s eyes are particularly vulnerable to UV rays and must be protected at all times. To do so, parents must ensure their children wear sunglasses that offer UV protection any time they are outside for prolonged periods of time to protect their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
Prevents Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke
Children’s bodies are nowhere near as strong as adults, making them particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses too much water and salt due to exposure to high temperatures. It becomes a severe and life-threatening condition known as heatstroke when the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Sun safety measures such as staying hydrated, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding the sun during peak hours can help prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke from developing.
How Parents Can Ensure Sun Safety for Their Children
It is clear that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the sun’s UV rays, as well as the dangers the sun’s damage can cause. Due to their young age, it is harder for them to understand these risks and take the steps necessary to protect themselves. That’s why the parents need to step up as the responsible party and provide the following measures that ensure their children are adequately protected.
Limit Sun Exposure
The sun’s UV rays are most potent between 11am and 3pm from March to October. You can check for the risk of sun damage by watching the length of your shadow; if it is shorter than you are tall, you will need to seek shelter. While sun damaged skin treatment options are available for adults, the necessity of such treatments can be reduced if sun safety is taken seriously from a young age, including limiting sun exposure.
Parents should actively encourage children to stay out of the sun at these times, or enforce avoidance during these hours. If children must be outside during these times, they should be protected with clothing and sunscreen.
Wear Protective Clothing
The protective clothing needed for the sun is long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses when outside. Clothing made of tightly woven fabrics offers better sun protection, while the hat should not just cover the face, but the vulnerable skin on the back of the neck.
While clothing can help cover a child’s sensitive skin and protect it from the sun’s rays, sunscreen is perhaps the most essential aspect of sun safety. Parents should ensure their children, no matter their skin tone, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 any time they go outside.
Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
If a little one is reluctant to follow the rules of sun safety, parents should set an example by following the rules they have set out. Not only is this good for the adult’s own safety, but it indicates to children that sun safety is something that everyone has to consider, including their role models. Furthermore, if everyone gets involved with sunscreen and other sun safety essentials, it is a guaranteed safe day in the sun for all.
Children should drink plenty of fluids when outside in the sun to prevent dehydration. Parents should encourage their children to drink water regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Failure to properly hydrate can greatly increase the risk of heat exhaustion or stroke.
In conclusion, a child’s sun safety is an essential responsibility for any parent and must be prioritised appropriately for any outside activity. By understanding the importance of sun safety and taking the necessary precautions, parents can protect their children from the harmful effects of UV rays. This includes limiting sun exposure, wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen, and staying hydrated.
By following these simple steps parents can ensure their children remain completely protected from the sun’s harmful rays!