As the sun gets hotter and the days grow longer, most people want to hang out outdoors, especially the kids. It is so much more fun to do things outside than swelter in the heat stuck inside the house.
While being outside is great and definitely guarantees the necessary dose of vitamin D that helps absorb calcium and strong bones, too much sun is harmful as it can cause sunburn and heat exhaustion, among other things.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun.
How do you stay safe?
Here are some sun safety tips
- Wear sunscreen
It is true we cannot survive without sunlight. Plants need it to grow and bloom. We need it for strong bones. But too much sun can cause sunburn. It only takes 15 minutes for the sun to damage your skin.
So make sure your kids get their sunscreen on. Don’t let them stay in the sun too long, especially when it is hottest. Check the SPF or Sun Protection Factor of your sunscreen to ensure they’re getting enough protection. Look for an SPF of 15 or higher to stay safe from ultraviolet A and B. Apply it a few minutes before stepping out into the sun to avoid getting sunburn. Cover the lips, back, the tips of the ears and feet. If they are out swimming in the pool, sunburn is quicker as the water makes it worse, causing the sun’s rays to reflect off its surface. Remember that prolonged exposure to the sun’s intense rays can cause skin cancer and that is definitely avoidable with a few simple precautions. Do apply sunscreen frequently as it can wear off with sweat.
- Wear eyewear
Protect your child’s eyes from the sun’s UV rays with sunglasses. Too much sun can cause cataract and other vision problems. For children with light skin and light coloured eyes, the damage is worse than those with dark skin, as light skin has less melanin. Melanin reflects and absorbs the sun’s UV rays, protecting the skin. But that doesn’t automatically mean dark skin is safe. All skin types are prone to damage and need protection!
- Cover your skin
Oh yes, the last thing you want to do when it is warm is to maximize clothing. But sunburn is not fun! To avoid sunburn, it is necessary to cover as much skin as possible, especially arms and legs. A wide-brimmed hat can protect the ears and neck. Wear light colored clothing to deflect the sun’s rays away.
- Drink lots of water
Water is an important part of our diets to help us stay healthy, but even more so during warm weather. When we sweat, our body loses a lot of water that must be replenished. If your child enjoys sports, make them carry their water bottle at all times. Teach them not to wait until they feel the thirst. Drinking water at periodic intervals can help avoid dehydration and fight sunstroke.
- Stick to the shade between 12 noon and 3 pm
The sun’s rays are most intense from 10 am to 4 pm. It is best to avoid being outdoors at this time, but if that is unavoidable, keep your kids in the shade. Spending a day at the beach? Invest in a good beach umbrella. Off to the park? Look for a tree with shade. If you can, schedule outdoor play before 12 noon or after 3 pm.
See? That’s all it takes to stay safe while enjoying sun! And oh, did I mention that all these tips hold good for adults too?
Got tips to share? Would love to hear them in the comments.