Children always look forward to the summer months. What could be bad about it? No school! Fun outdoors activities! Did I say no school?! However, parents may not be as excited about the summer.
It takes a lot to keep our children safe and healthy, no matter the season, but summer brings extra concerns. While day care and keeping our youth entertained are major issues for most parents, come summertime, health and safety are especially paramount.
“Most kids get much of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18,” according to a recent article in Parents Magazine. It is hard to imagine that only several severe sunburns in childhood can lead to increased risk for skin cancer in their adult lives.
Kids love to play outdoors, especially after being cooped up in a classroom all year with darkness to greet them after hours. It is important that we protect them from harmal ultra-violent rays now to ensure adult health in years to come.
It may be a challenge, but there are a few things parents can do to limit the harmful rays while our children are enjoying fun and educational outdoor activities:
- Plan outdoor play times. Since the sun is at its most powerful in the middle of the day, try to plan indoor activities then. Outdoor play can be encouraged in the morning and later in the afternoon and evening. Make sure there is plenty of shade with inviting healthy treats, drinks, and our games to lure children into the shade of an umbrella, porch, or canopy.
- If weather permits dress children in lightweight long-sleeved tops and bottoms. Many retailers offer outdoor wear with built-in UV protection.
- Hats and sunglasses also help. Hats provide built-in shade to all parts of the face and head, as well as part of our children’s necks. Floppy sun hats provide more coverage than baseball-style hats. Sunscreen should be applied to the neck area as activity may leave some parts exposed during the course of the day. Sunglasses should be polarized if children are by the water, should wrap around and should block close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Sunscreen is a given. Most of us realize the benefits of sunscreen and work hard to get our children slathered it in. But, make sure the sunscreen you use is effective! A minimum of SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection is recommended by the CDC with a note to apply it 30 minutes BEFORE outdoor activity.
What plans are you making for your children this summer? I would love to hear them! Comment here or send me an email.
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