With summer approaching, it’s time again for a season of picnics in the park, poolside frolic and plays dates under the sun. Shield your child’s skin from the blistering heat with these summer-ready tips!
A season of summer fun can be the perfect way to wind down after a busy school year. And yet, the sun can play a vicious little devil. If you’re worried about striking the perfect balance between outdoor play and sun safety for your little one, look to these tips to keep the sun’s spite at arm’s length.
How Does the Sun Affect My Child?
Some sun exposure is healthy for your child. It allows your little one’s skin to make vitamin D, which in turn, augments calcium absorption for healthier teeth and bones, muscle fortification, brain development and metabolic function. Experts advise that children be exposed to early morning sunlight to maximise their vitamin D production. However, as they say, anything in excess is a sin, and the same holds true for sun exposure. Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can result in paediatric skin conditions, eye damage, immune system problems, and rarely, even skin cancer. Studies show 80% of sun exposure occurs during childhood, and its effects can be lasting.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe From the Sun?
With a little extra care, you can keep the sun from preying on your child’s sensitive skin. Here are some measures.
Limit Afternoon Playtime
The sun dons its most powerful avatar between 10 AM and 4 PM, so it’s wise to restrict outdoor activity during this window. Move your child’s playground indoors during this time, or use this time for napping, eating, reading and other relaxing activities. Once you have established an afternoon schedule, your child will become comfortable bidding the sun farewell at the designated 10 AM curfew and learn to enjoy indoor activities in equal measure.
Slather On the Sunscreen
Be generous with the sunscreen and apply it on your child’s skin about half an hour before they step out into the sun. Pick a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. Also, some kids’ sunscreens come in exciting scents, colours and bottles, so experiment with variants to build a buzz. It’s important to apply sunscreen uniformly across exposed parts of your child’s body including the nose, ears, feet, shoulders and the nape of the neck, and reapply every two to three hours to pack in the protection (sweat and water can wear it away). Go ahead and finish your routine with an SPF lip balm to keep your little one’s lips soft and supple.
Invest In Protective Clothing
The right clothing can go a long way in veiling your child’s skin against ultraviolet damage. Invest in brimmed hats, UV-protection sunglasses, dark-toned outfits with long sleeves, and pants. Sheer, light-hued clothes can seem great for reflecting light, but can actually channel sunlight onto your child’s bare skin. Also, if you’re going on a family outing, don’t forget to carry an umbrella to keep the sun at bay.
Prescription antibiotics and acne medications, among other medications, can make the skin more susceptible to sun damage. So, if your rugrat is on any course of medication, check in with your doctor about its possible effect on sun sensitivity.
Take the Lead
In your child’s early years, every move you make will be carefully shadowed by your munchkin. And so, if there’s anything you would like to inculcate, there’s no better way than to lead by example. Make sure to apply sunscreen, wear protective sunglasses and cover up before stepping out of the house.
With responsible sun protection, you can allow your child to befriend the sun while staying shielded against sun damage. By practising sun safety now, you can lead your child into a lifetime of sunny moments, without any damage to show for it.