The summer is a great time to take your baby or young child outdoors. The weather is warm, the days are longer, and there are plenty of places just waiting for exploring. However, you have to be extra careful with children to help protect them from a serious sunburn.
You have probably noticed that your child has much more delicate skin than you do. After all, your skin has had years worth of conditioning to the elements. So while that baby soft skin is perfect for snuggling and kissing, it is also at a much higher risk of burning when the two of you go out in the sun.
You should also keep in mind that, besides protecting your child from an uncomfortable sunburn, you are also teaching him or her healthy skin habits for life. Repeated sun exposure and sunburns can lead to more dangerous skin conditions like skin cancer later on in life.
There are some basic rules that you can follow to help protect your child from harmful sun rays. These include:
Stay inside, or at least in the shade, during the hottest part of the day. The sun is at its brightest, hottest, and most dangerous between 11 AM and 3 PM.
Always use sunscreen on your child, preferably one with an SPF of 50 or higher. Reapply as often as directed, especially when the child is swimming or getting wet.
For walks outdoors, take sun protection for the stroller and your child. Strollers with a canopy work best to help block the sun, and look for a hat and sunglasses that appropriately fit your child. Brimmed hats are best since they can protect not only the face but the ears and the back of the neck as well.
Check to make sure that your child’s sunglasses offer 100% UV protection and fit securely. Many styles of children’s sunglasses will either wrap around the ears or have an adjustable strap to help insure a proper fit.
Be aware of clothing. Covering your child up too much during the summer can cause him or her to become overheated. However, you should be aware as to what body parts are exposed to the sun so that you can apply protection as needed.
Consider skin type. Chances are, your child has a similar skin type to your own. Very fair children will have a tendency to burn faster than darker skinned children. However, it is still important to protect children of all skin types, because even if they do not burn repeated sun exposure can still age the skin and lead to an increased risk of cancer.
Taking some extra precautions will hep make sure that both you and your child enjoy the warmer weather in a healthy way. Teaching your child about proper skin protection while he or she is young will start them off on healthy skin habits for life, and will dramatically reduce the risk that he or she will suffer from skin cancers or premature aging later on.