Have you asked yourself, Will My Kids Be Safe From The Sun At The Beach? Am I setting good examples for staying safe at the beach?
Late Spring is a great time to ask: Will my kids be safe from the sun at the beach? Generally, some time on the beach and around the water is a welcome and fun break. I don’t see the beach in the future this year for our crew.
However, it is still a good time to review, to make sure we are ready for everyday fun in the sun. There will be more days that are “everyday” than days that are beach days. This is where the damage will generally occur, and continue to happen. Everyday. This is what research shows are the times we get those repeated sunburns.
Sure a sunburn will spoil your beach weekend. All too often we forget about the sunburn when the kids were outside till noon at the neighbors. Then the one when the coach kept baseball practice a little later. Next was the day the kids got all their bicycle tires blown up at the same time and rode longer than usual.
Pretty soon there are several days that they had too much sun.
We need to treat each day in the hotter time of the year as a beach day. We should prepare as though we will be out in the sun for hours. Often, when the day is just a stay-at-home day, we get lazy about sun protection.
We have more stay-at-home days than we have beach days. Remember, here in central Texas we are several hours from the sun, so our days may be different from yours. However, we do have to stay aware of the places and times our protection for our skin might get overlooked.
Is sun blocking clothing and sunscreen part of your everyday?
Are You Practicing Sun Safety?
When our kids are doing things outdoors, it’s important to protect their skin. The long-term goal is to prevent melanoma and skin damage from too much sun exposure.
Short-term, just protecting the kids from the discomfort of too much sun and sunburn on their skin. When I was young, we got sunburned on our cheeks, noses, and foreheads often. We didn’t wear sun blocking hats.
Our summertime days were spent mostly at home. We usually had a few chores to do, and being kids put them off as long as we could. However, they had to be done before we went out to play. Daytime TV soon was boring so we ended up going out at about 11:00 in the morning.
No wonder only a few minutes spent riding our bikes, or on the swing would result in sunburn on our faces. Mom didn’t know, and we ignored the offers of Dad’s old hats. Little did we know that the day in the sun was dangerous.
Here’s how to help kids enjoy fun in the sun safely. You are going to need to help them. I can remember how disdainful we were about protecting our faces. You the parent have to enforce the protection rules.
Let’s Take A Moment And Consider Why Is Sun Protection Important?
Sun exposure is an important part of our health cycle. Most everyone needs some sun exposure. When our skin is exposed to the sun, our bodies can make vitamin D. Vitamin D is important because it helps our body do a better job of absorbing calcium for stronger, healthier bones.
Now, it only takes a little time in the sun for most people to get the vitamin D they need. Our body also gets lots of vitamin D with a healthy diet and/or supplements. Research has proven that due to people staying in the sun too long, diet and supplements are a good source of vitamin D for our bodies.
Your body makes what it needs to keep your vitamin D amount up with about 20 minutes, of the early morning sun on your face, hands, and arms. Most people, especially our kids are not careful enough on time. Sunscreen will slow the production or can stop it, as it stops the sun’s rays.
My Grandmother loved a few minutes in the direct sun as many days as she could manage. However, she kept her skin covered the rest of the time. No tank tops and shorts, no hanging out clothes on the clothesline without a bonnet on her head. Women dressed more modestly in her time.
If our skin receives too much-unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, those rays can cause long-lasting skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, as well as skin cancer.
The information in the link above explains how the skin works in the immune system, and how kids are still building their immunity.
Your Child Needs Protection From The Sun
Every child needs protection from the sun, yours do too.
When your kids have a lighter natural skin color, that means there is less melanin in your skin to absorb UV rays and protect itself.
The darker a person’s natural skin color, the more melanin it has.
But both dark- and light-skinned kids need protection from UV rays because any tanning or burning causes skin damage, regardless of how much melanin is present.
It will normally take a darker tone of skin to get too much sun, but darker skin will sunburn and can cause skin cancer as well.
This means that helping your kids, regardless of skin color, to build sun-protecting habits is important.
Cover Your Family’s Skin With UPF Clothing.
One of the best ways to protect skin is to cover up. To make sure clothes offer enough protection, hold the garment up to a strong light source. Pick up a layer of the fabric and see if you can see the sun in between the tiny weave holes to make sure you can’t see it through them.
If you can see the sun, the sun can see your child’s skin and may burn their skin as well.
Starting with a sun blocking hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a loosely fitting long sleeve shirt, made of a tightly woven fabric you are giving your child good protection from the sun that doesn’t wash off or sweat away.
Help your child apply sunscreen to the parts of his/her body that is not covered. Talk to your child about why you are doing this. Help your children realize that skin protection is important for good health.
Sunscreen Is Part Of Your Skin Protection Plan
Let’s start with the fact that babies have thinner skin than adults. The melanin that is present is underdeveloped, and not yet ready to protect their skin. This means that their skin burns easily.
The best protection for babies under 12 months of age is shade. So they should be kept out of the sun all the time.
If your baby must be in the sun, dress him/her in clothing that covers the body. This means wearing hats with wide brims to shadow the face. Be aware of reflecting sunlight on your child. Pay attention, and keep your little one’s skin safe.
Even your older kids will need to escape the sun.
When attending outdoor events, bring along a wide umbrella or a pop-up tent to play in.
When outside dress your kids and babies in loosely fitting lightweight head-to-toe clothing, light long-sleeved shirts, and/or long pants. Bringing them into the house during the hotter times of the day.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all kids, 1-year-old or older, regardless of their skin tone, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
If they are in direct sunlight at all, make sure their clothing is all UPF rated and has at least a 30 rating. Apply sunscreen on their skin that is not covered with clothing. Be watchful for too much sun on them. Kids this young should only be out in the early mornings or late afternoons.
Whatever sunscreen you choose, make sure it’s broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays). If the outing has your kids in or near water, find a sunscreen that is water-resistant. Apply a generous amount and re-apply often. With UPF clothing, you will be able to stay protected from the sun yourself.
Make Sure Your Kids Wear Sunglasses
Sun exposure damages our eyes as well as the skin.
Even 1 day in the sun can lead to a burned cornea. This is the outer clear membrane layer of the eye. Sun exposure over time can cause cataracts.
Cataracts cause a clouding of the eye lens, which leads to blurred vision later in life. The best way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
The best time to wear your sunglasses is when you are very young. It becomes a habit and one that can serve them well in life. Yes, they can have surgery for cataracts, but can also complicate other eye issues that can happen later in life. Wearing sunglasses can delay the need for cataract surgery in your kid’s life, or avoid it altogether.
Let kids pick their own pair when possible, there are many options that are fun, with multicolored frames or cartoon characters.
Choose Outside Time Wisely
Staying in the shade when the sun is at its strongest is a very important part of our skin protection plan here in Central Texas. Staying in the house with the air conditioner is an even better idea. If the kids have had some good outside play time before 10 AM, they are ready for quiet and cool.
Then after 4 PM, they can get back out if it isn’t too hot. We are having such hot days this year that even after 4 the temperature is 100 plus and this is too hot for anyone to be out unless they can play in the water. We are having a dangerous year for being outside, and parents should be alert.
At the beach, there is usually enough wind and water-cooled wind for a safer temperature. If at the beach, remember the wide spectrum sunscreen of at least an SPF of 30. When out of the water, slip on the cover-up shirts and robes to protect your skin. UPF-rated cover-up shirts and robes.
It is important to apply sunscreen, even if they’re just playing in the backyard. Most sun damage happens from exposure during day-to-day activities, not from being at the beach.
Remember that even on cloudy, cool, or overcast days, UV rays reach the earth. This “invisible sun” can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage.
Protect your family with clothing and sunscreen.
Medicines Can Cause Your Kids Skin To Be Extra Semsitivite
Some medicines make our skin more sensitive to UV rays. Be sure and ask when you get the prescription for your kids or yourself.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any prescription that your kids take causes their skin to be more sesitivite. We assume they don’t cause problems because we don’t notice them. Could be the reaction is slight, but may increase over time, or if another medication is added.
While doctors are slow to give antibiotics, it could be the interrupting facter if your child takes allergy or acne medicines.
Those over-the-counter (OTC) medicines your kids take are often overlooked as a reason for an increase sun sensitivity.
If your kids do take medications, take extra sun precautions.
The best protection is simply covering up or staying indoors; even sunscreen can’t always protect skin from sun sensitivity.
Staying out of the sun is a good plan for medications they take irregularly.
With the increased allergy issues, more kids are taking medications.
This can cause a sunburn quicker than it might at other times, especially if the season has brought new allergies for your kid.
Like wearing less clothing than generations before us did to protect our skin, we may forget that we had an added medication last winter that is still needed for allergy. We take more medications than those who came before us.
I have had times my skin was more sensitive and had to get back out of the sun after a few minutes. After watching my own reactions to allergies, and meds I have realized that just having an allergy outbreak without medications can cause extra sensitivity.
Pay attention to how your kids skin reacts in the sun. Help them stay safe with a long sleeve, loose-fitting shirt, sun hat and sunglasses. A little sunscreen to cover what is not covered with the clothing.
Sesnitive skin can react adversely to sunscreen application. Pay attention. Know that wearing a shirt won’t cause a reaction. Adding products that may cause reactions are not always the best answer.
What To Do If Your Kid Gets a Sunburn?
When kids get sunburned, they usually have pain and a sensation of heat. These symptoms tend to get worse for several hours after the sun exposure. Some kids will also get chills.
Because the sun has dried their skin, it can feel itchy and tight.
Sunburned skin will usually begin to peel about a week after the sunburn. Encourage your kido not to scratch. And help them realize that they should not peel off any loose skin because the skin underneath the sunburn is at risk for infection.
To treat a sunburn and make your kid more comfortable you should:
- Have your kid take a cool ( but not cold) bath. Or gently apply cool, wet compresses to the skin to help ease pain and reduce the felling of heat.
- Pure aloe vera gel (available in most drugstores) can be applied to the sunburned areas.
- To keep your kids more comfortable have them take an anti-inflammatory mediciation like ibuprofen or use acetaminophen to ease the pain and itching. (Do not give aspirin to children or teens Do you know why?Aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome, so use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers for fever or pain. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin.) Over-the-counter diphenhydramine also may help reduce itching and swelling.
- Apply moisturizing cream to rehydrate the skin and ease the itching. For the more seriously sunburned areas in kids over 2 years old, apply a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone cream to help with the pain. (Do not use petroleum-based products, because they prevent excess heat and sweat from escaping. Also, avoid first-aid products that contain benzocaine, which may cause skin irritation or allergy.)
This Warning Is Important, But Hard To Enforce
If the sunburn is severe and blisters develop, call your doctor.
Advise your kid not to scratch, pop, or squeeze the blisters, which can get infected and cause scarring.
Keeping your kid from scratching or peeling is difficult to do. Dressing your child in loosely fitting clothing that covers the affected area will help. Keeping the affected area moisturized is important as well. The sunburn recovery window is usually about a week to 10 days.
Keep your kid out of the sun until the sunburn area is healed. Any further sun exposure will only make the burn worse and increase pain.
To keep your youngster more comfortable, dressing them in sun blocking clothing and paying attention to the more dangerous times of the day for outside play time is important. Many sun blocking shirtsand pants are of a super comfortable knit.
Sami’s Take On Will My Kids Be Safe From The Sun At The Beach
We all k now that the intensity of the sun’s rays depends upon the time of year, as well as the altitude and latitude of your location.
UV rays are strongest during summer. If you travel to a foreign country during its summer season, you should take sun blocking clothing. The UPF of at least 30 for you sun blocking clothing with a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 are very important and can make your trip more fun with less sunburn pain.
If you are going to the equator area or even near the equator, protection is also a must. This is where the sun is strongest.
Are high altitudes your destination, where the air and cloud cover are thinner? Even during the winter months, if your family goes skiing in the mountains, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen. UV rays reflect off both snow and water, increasing the risk of sunburn.
And be a good role model by always using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, protecting your skin with UPF clothing,and limiting your time in the sun. You’ll reduce your risk of sun damage and teach your kids good sun sense