Do my kids need sun block clothing is a question I have because of my grandkids. I promise not to bore you with all their sweetness or smartness or any of the other achievements. Plus all that they are so darned cute! And they love the sun filled days outside.
Most everyone enjoys relaxing in the soft, warm glow of the sun. However, here in central Texas, it gets hot and dangerous quickly. Like so many of life’s pleasures, fun in the sun is best done in moderation.
All sunlight includes ultraviolet radiation. Exposing your skin to these wonderful feeling rays can lead to sunburn. You are also getting an extra dose of the rays that cause premature skin ageing.
Not to be forgotten, skin cancer happens before you realize it.
So, keeping our babies out of the sun is important.
Helping our older kids learn to protect themselves so they don’t get a sunburn. These are very important concerns and can make summertime stressful for parents.
It’s not all that easy to apply and re-apply sunscreen to wiggly kids. Seems like one of them always gets sunscreen in their eyes and end up in tears.
Sun Dangers Start Early
Science is adamant about kids and the sun. Remember the sun’s danger is usually in the number of times we are overexposed. A little sun exposure is what you need. The many opportunities for overexposure start adding up, even at a very young age.
Protecting your children from the sun’s damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays while they’re young is teaching good habits. This care and caution will significantly reduce their risk of skin cancer later in life. Learning to be safe in the sun starts when they are young, very young.
Most dermatologists suggest dressing kids in UV-protective clothing. This just makes it easier for parents to protect their kid’s skin. Making sun protection easier for parents is very important.
Check the clothing label. Make sure there is a UPF or ultra-violet protection factor rating of 50+.
After you have your kids dressed in a sun hat, long sleeve shirt and have their legs covered, apply sunblock on exposed skin. For your kids under 2 years old, make extra sure they also have sunblock anywhere the sun block clothes don’t cover, as well.
Time In The Sun
For your kids under 2, the amount of time in the sun should be closely monitored as well. Their skin will start to burn in a surprisingly short time.
Take an umbrella and make a shade for the younger ones to play under.
I know this sounds way over the top. And it is, according to how we have behaved for our life for our families skin protection.
However, looking at my grown kids and the issues they have with their skin from overexposure? I wish I could take back the lack of knowledge about the danger of the sun.
Protecting your skin is just a lifestyle choice. Make good choices.
Time Of Day Is Important Too
For your kids to have safe times in the sun, choose times before 10 AM and after 4 PM in the late spring, summer and early fall. The sun in our part of the world can and will do a world of damage to your young kid’s skin.
They can’t tell time, and you as the parent have to help them by monitoring the length of time, as well as the time of day. Structuring their day so that they have early or later outside playtimes will go a long way for keeping their skin healthy.
Finding playmates whose parents are aware of the sun dangers and can have the same guidelines will help as well. Here we are talking about everyday normal living.
Vacation times and special trip times need similar guidelines for safe sun times. Forgetting to protect delicate skin can send you to the emergency room with your child, or yourself for that matter.
Why Does A Baby’s Skin Sunburn So Easily?
An infant’s skin is much thinner than your skin as an adult or even your adolescent’s skin.
This means our babies skin protects their bodies less effectively against UV radiation.
Newborn skin does not yet have a functioning acid mantle. The younger child’s body has not developed the covering on their skin’s surface. This acid mantle is to protect their skin from water loss and evaporation.
This layer is absent and can lead to dehydration in hot weather. By not yet having this layer developed, being in the sun, is dangerous. As babies have under-developed sweat glands they can’t regulate their temperature very well.
As if all these reasons were not enough to be careful with our babies in the sun, we much remember that young babies have very low levels of melanin.
Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin as well as our hair color. Our body’s built in sunblock is Melanin. As infants are still developing their melanin, they have no natural sunblock.
Does A Bad Sunburn In Childhood Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer?
Science can now prove that a sunburn before age one more than doubles your risk of melanoma.
Short-term, high-intensity sun exposure during childhood poses the greatest risk for getting skin cancer later.
Even more important, sunburns in babies are often a medical emergency. Your babies immature skin will allow them to sunburn quickly. This will often cause dehydration, fevers, blisters, and sometimes even heatstroke.
Babies are more likely to become seriously ill from the damage to their skin of sun overexposure. Also, babies are more prone to develop sunburns because of their delicate and immature skin.
This is dangerous, and you as a parent must be on the lookout for your youngest children.
Keep your babies out of the direct sun. Even dappled shady sunlight can be too much for a baby’s skin. So keeping them in the house where it is cooler is good advice for the hours of 10 AM until 4 PM. Then no direct sun. Shade is enough for a little one still developing their skin.
Babys Under 6 Months Old
Babies under six months should be protected from the sun’s rays by using a physical barrier. They’re too young to use sunscreen or sunblock; these products haven’t been tested on babies under six months old.
Attitudes About Too Much Sun
Our unfortunate attitude about tans was so unhelathy when my family was young. We thought we were healthier and that having a tan would make us look better. A tan was sought after at all levels.
This worship of and desire of “a tan” and the acptence of those who knew how bad it was for ourskin still influnces us in our thinking.
We need to learn to appreciate healthy skin. Skin that has been protected from the sun. This will happen, but not before another generation or so lives the last half of their life with dried up skin that is wrinled before it should have.
We do seem slow to realize what is really good for us. If younger people could just take a look at the skin condition of those who have tanned.
How much more does UV-protective clothing protect from the sun than regular clothing?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a dry, white cotton tee shirt provides a UPF of only 7.
When it’s wet, the protection level drops to about UPF 3. Compare that to a UPF of 50 for UV-protective clothing.
That can be extremely helpful when children are out in the sun for hours at a time or if they’re fair-skinned and sunburn easily. Wearing UPF clothing is a smart health habit to prevent skin cancer.
It’s not too late for parents to try it too.
Advantages of UPF 50+ UV-protective clothing
- Blocks over 98 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Doesn’t need to be reapplied like sunscreen. You do have to have it on to gain the protection benifet.
- Safe for people with skin allergies or sensitivities to chemicals.
- Fabrics are rigorously tested and rated.
- Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and/or the International Melanoma Foundation.
Sunblock is more effective than sunscreen
Sunscreen and sunblock cannot be used on babies until they are 24 months old. Keep babies this young out of the direct sun and allow little indirect sun.
Sunblock is a physical blocker protects your kids skin by reflecting sunlight off their skin. A broad-spectrum sunblock containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide is most effective. This kind of product works on both types of ultra violet rays, UVA and UVB.
The new sunblocks are less obvious on the skin unlike like the old zinc oxide products that stayed so white after application. Using a different manufacturing process has allowed the zinc oxide to be mixed while in micro ball. So, easier to rub on formula.
A certian amount of sunlight is allowed through to your skin with sunscreen, so it won’t provide as much protection as a sunblock.
Sunscreens often contain ingredients that can sting the eyes when you sweat and it runs down on your face and eyes. Sunscreen can cause skin irritation, as well as allergic reactions. Then acne breakouts happen often on sensitive skin.
That means sunblock makes sense not only for babies, but children and adults as well.
To help protect your family from harmful UVA and UVB rays, use a broad-spectrum sunblock product with an SPF of 30 or higher, which will protect skin 30 times longer than wearing no sunblock. You must re-apply often, especially if you’re in the water.
By choosing clothing that has been designed for sun protection, you will be able to more easily protect your families skin from the sun. Adding sun block clothing you will have greater control over your total level of UV exposure.
Sami’s Take On Do My Kids Need Sun Block Clothing?
Yes we definately need to have sunblocking clothing for our kids. There may be some complaints at first, but being able to better protect the family from skin cancer and early ageing, is worthwhile.
Trying to get sunscreen on grandkids is often a thankless effort.
They are in and out of the water. Then when break times comes putting on a dry shirt instead of trying to rub their whole bodies in sunscreen is a breeze.
Think about saving their skin. That will do it for you. Clothing is the base to build sensible family sun protection on.