Protecting your children from the sun

It is important children and parents change their thought process about their kids being in the sun and where better to begin this change than when they are infants, toddlers or young children. It is important to check your child’s skin on a regular basis and contact your doctor at the first sign of any changes.

It is important that children from an early age learn this information about the sun. They need to learn to use sunscreen as if it were the same as brushing their teeth. Never forget sunburn can ruin your day but can leave a lasting negative impression for a lifetime.

A good rule of thumb is to apply sun screen 30 minutes before the kids go out to play and it needs to be reapplied on a regular basis especially on those that are swimming or get wet. Sun screen needs to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Those with SPFs of 60 do offer greater protection but it does not mean you can spend twice as long under the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Sunscreens reduce the sun’s damage but do not block it out 100% therefore it is best to cover up and look for shade during the day’s hottest hours. There are plenty of hints people hear about sun protection but there are some that are proven to work both before going out in the sun and while out in the sun.

Usually it is best to limit time in the sun between 10am to 4pm. Every 90 minutes sunscreen should be applied and it should be SPF 30 or higher. The parts of the body to remember are the neck, back of hands, chin and tops of the feet. Protect the lips of your youngsters and yourself with petroleum jelly.

Hats and sunglasses are important for everyone. Over exposure to the sun is associated with all types of skin cancer nevertheless the most common is basal skin cancer. Frequent sun burns and an intense exposure to sun during childhood increase the risk. Basal skin cancer appears most commonly in the face and neck but also can be on the legs and trunk. In North America alone the incidence rate for the cancer is increasing by 10% annually.

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