Summer is nearly upon us and warmer weather means spending more time in the sun, especially for kids. Before the summer activities start, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to protect your kids’ skin from the sun. To give you some ideas, here are a few tips to help keep your kids safe from the sun’s rays so they can enjoy the warmer weather.
1. Pick the Right SPF
While you might be tempted to pick up the SPF 100 to protect their delicate skin, it isn’t necessary. The CDC recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 — broad spectrum meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Even in Florida sunshine, properly applied SPF 30 sunscreen is more than sufficient.
2. Reapply Frequently
This is especially important if you’re swimming or playing in the water. Even waterproof sunscreen is only rated for around 80 minutes of water sports before you need to reapply — and you may even need to reapply more frequently if you towel off. Set a timer on your phone or bring a kitchen timer with you to remind you when it’s time to reapply.
3. Buy the Right Sunscreen
There’s an entire area in the skincare department of your local department store or pharmacy that’s dedicated to sunscreen — but how can you be sure that you’re getting the best one for your kids? Take some time to read the label. ConsumerSafety.org recommends sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, avobenzone or ecamsule. Avoid products that contain Vitamin A or Retinol — this is usually added to anti-aging products and has no benefit for younger skin.
4. Avoid Midday Hours
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 11 am and 2 to 3 pm, depending on where you live. Try to schedule your outdoor activities for the morning or evening to avoid the worst of the sun’s rays.
5. Take Breaks
Summertime is great for outdoor activities, but make sure you take frequent breaks out of the sun, either indoors or in the shade of an umbrella or other shade structure. Not only does this give you a chance to reapply your sunscreen, but it can be a great way to avoid the heat of the midday sun.
If you’re playing in the water, you might not think that dehydration is a problem, but it can be — especially if you’re at the beach. Enforce frequent hydration breaks to drink water, eat popsicles or enjoy watery fruit like melons. Sunburns can cause dehydration, so make sure you stay hydrated.
7. Dress Appropriately
It’s tempting to wear as little as possible on the beach, but for kids, it’s not a bad idea to keep them as covered up as possible. Long sleeved swim shirts are comfortable to wear in the water and provide additional protection from the sun. We don’t need to wrap them in full body wetsuits, but a little extra protection never hurts.
8. Wear a Hat
Big floppy sun hats are most often associated with old ladies, but they can be a great way to keep the sun off your face if you’re lounging on the beach or cruising around on a boat. Getting kids to wear hats, especially in the water, can be tricky, but try to keep them on as much as possible to cut down on the sun exposure.
9. Don’t Forget Ears and Scalp
There’s nothing worse than getting a sunburn on your ears or on your scalp — don’t forget these vulnerable areas when you’re breaking out the sunscreen. If you have young boys who have very short hair, take some time to work sunscreen on their scalp to protect their skin from the sun’s rays.
10. Have Fun
The best part of summertime is that you’re having fun with your friends, family, and kids. Don’t let a little sun keep you inside — just layer up, wear a hat, and use sunscreen correctly and frequently and you’ll be all set for the best summer of your lives.