Sun and summer safety tips
By Dr. Amit Jain, MD FAAP MBA | Pediatrician
Summer is here and many of us will be out with our kids to enjoy the sun. NOAH’s Pediatric team has a few summer safety tips for safe fun in the sun!
The sun brings many great things, but it also brings harmful UV (ultraviolet) light. UV light can cause melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer more common in people who have had bad sunburns when they were young. The sun can also cause other health risks and skin damage.
The first, best defense against the scorching summer sun is proper clothing and lots of shade.
- Limit your time in the sun during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (the most intense time).
- Take frequent shade breaks if staying in the sun for long periods of time.
- Cotton clothing is best – it’s protective against the sun and keeps moisture low so you stay cool outside. Tightly woven fabrics are best.
- Wear a hat: wide brimmed is best to protect your child’s entire face, including the nose, cheeks, chin, ears, and back of the neck.
- Kids sunglasses should have UV protection. They aren’t expensive and are sold lots of places like dollar stores and Walmart. But make sure they’re labeled with UV protection.
- Use SPF 15 (or higher) sunscreen on any skin not protected by clothing. Don’t forget the ears, back of the neck, arms, and legs. Carefully apply around the eyes, avoiding eyelids.
- Choose a sunscreen that has the words “Broad Spectrum” on it – that will cover both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone because it has bad hormonal side effects in males and females.
- Before applying sunscreen for the first time, test a small amount on your child’s back for an allergic reaction.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure, because it takes this long to start working.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 1 hour.
- If playing in the water, reapply sunscreen every half an hour, and use a waterproof sunscreen.
- Babies under 6 months need more sun protection.
- Avoid direct sun exposure. Keep them in shade with a canopy or under a tree.
- Use wide brimmed hats to cover their face, ears, and neck.
- Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs.
- If a young baby will be in the sun, apply small amounts of sunscreen SPF 15 or more to your baby’s face, hands, and legs.
- Don’t forget to use sun protection even on cloudy days, as the harmful UV rays come through clouds.
If your child experiences a serious reaction to sunscreen, gets a bad sunburn or rash, talk to your NOAH pediatrician.
Looking for more summer sun safety tips? Visit HealthyChildren.org for tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.