During the summer months, outdoor activities are in full swing and the sun is shining bright. It's important to teach children that a healthy and safe summer starts with protecting their skin.
According to Nnenna Agim, M.D., Division Director of Dermatology at Children's Health℠ and Associate Professor at UT Southwestern, sun damage accumulated throughout childhood has a long-term effect. "Even a minor sunburn can increase the risk for skin cancer in the future, and melanoma is a major cause of death in young adults," says Dr. Agim.
Using sunscreen and sun protective clothing will lessen the chances of sunburn and reduce the risk of cancer. Take these five simple steps to protect children from the sun's harmful rays.
Sun safety for kids
Use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect their skin.
Protect against UVA and UVB rays. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can cause tanning, aging, leathery skin and skin cancer including melanoma. UVB rays can cause sunburns, skin cancer and increased moles in some individuals. See more tips for choosing sunscreen for kids.
Apply and then reapply sunscreen. Put more sunscreen on your child about every 3 hours or sooner when there is prolonged activity in the water.
Stay inside or in the shade during peak hours. Avoid activities during peak sunshine hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) when possible. Seek shade if your shadow is shorter than you are.
Use sun protective clothing. Dress your children in a variety of available UV protective clothing that can be worn in and out of the pool/water (wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved cotton clothing and sunglasses).
By helping your child develop regular skin protection habits, you can help reduce their risk of skin cancer and ensure they safely enjoy the sun's rays all year long.
Children's Health is by your side keeping your family healthy and safe this summer. See more summer safety tips.