School holidays are almost upon us and with kids wanting to be outdoors, it is important for us all to pay attention to the sun and how kiddies can have safe summer fun.
Getting outdoors has long been known for the positive impact on our body and mind.
So yes, we do need a bit of sun to produce the all-important vitamin D, however the amount of exposure required to synthesise what we need is minimal and this can be done safely.
The best way to play safely in the sun is to be aware of the UV levels and adjust your play to suit. Wear sun protection like hats, sunscreen with a high level of protection.
How Can I Protect My Children from the Sun?
It is so important to practice sun safety for children and babies. Remember sunscreen is just one of the defences against the harmful effect of UV radiation. Strategies like seeking shade and dressing children in sun-protective clothing are just as important.
Bad sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles the risk of melanoma later in life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Parents need to be extra vigilant about sun protection, especially as we are heading into the holiday season where kids spend time at pools and on the beach.
Some Sun Safety Requirements
Seek shade. UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. Stay in the shade or indoors between 11.30 and 2.30.
- Cover up. When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays.
- Get a hat or cap
- Wear sunglasses
- Apply sunscreen
- Keep hydrated
When Can Babies Wear Sunscreen?
Young skin is delicate and thinner, and produces less melanin, a skin protecting pigment. Ultra violet (UV) rays reach the skin’s pigment producing melanin cells, called melanocytes, and cause DNA damage to the skin, so keep new-born babies and babies under 6 months out of the direct sun.
For babies 6 months of age and older: Apply SPF 30 to 50 sunscreen made for children, to all exposed areas of the body. Don’t forget the ears. Choose sunscreen designated for infant skin, and one that won’t sting baby’s eye.
Although the little ones are wearing sunscreen, keep them out of the worst midday heat, and if they have a sensitive skin, dress them in lightweight sun protective clothing.
Most importantly, sunscreen must be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Products can no longer claim to be waterproof, only water-resistant, and labels must note a time limit of either 40 or 80 minutes before the sunscreen is ineffective.
Not only about Sunscreen
Remember it’s not just about sunscreen.
- Apply lip balm with SPF 30 and reapply regularly.
- Cover up by wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection and protective clothing.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Keep hydrated.
Learn about Ultraviolet (UV)
So what is UV? The sun emits radiation. Ultra Violet (UV) rays are a form of radiation that is emitted by the sun. UV rays are the main cause of sun cancer, sunburn, premature ageing and eye damage. This radiation can literally alter your skins DNA resulting in irreversible damage to your cells.
UV cannot be seen, it cannot be felt. Even on a cloudy day, UV penetrates through the clouds. Cloud coverage cannot be assumed to be safer when determining exposure to UV rays.
Surfaces such as pavement, water, sand or grass may reflect UV rays increasing exposure. Did you know even wearing a hat in the pool; your child could still be exposed to UV damage. The rays can be reflected from the water’s surface. So take care when you are out in the sun with the little ones.
Generally speaking, in summer here in Durban, you need not worry before 7:30am or after 4:30pm. The UV levels are typically low enough at these times to not be concerned about sun damage due to over exposure to UV rays.
At Household Plastic we have a heap of fun toys and pool and beach accessories to make your summer fun.