Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > Outdoor Safety > Sun Safety > Sun Safety for Children
|

Sun Safety for Children

Safety Savvy

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 80 percent of harmful sun exposure occurs before age 18. That's because kids spend more time outdoors than adults do, especially in summer. Babies and young children can't protect themselves from sunburn, so the adults have to do it for them.

The most important thing you can do for your child outdoors is protect her from sunburn. It's not hard, but requires diligence. Many parents are conscientious about skin protection when they take their kids to the beach or the swimming pool but neglect it when the children are playing in the backyard or on a sports team. Sun protection is needed all the time.

We all know how painful a sunburn can be. And children are more likely to suffer because their skin is more sensitive than adults' and burns more easily.

More important is the potential long-term effect. Adults who get skin cancer typically got too much sun when they were kids. Just one or two blistering sunburns in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood. If that sounds scary, we mean it to be. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Some types can be deadly.

The basic prevention steps include using sunscreen lotions, wearing hats and other protective clothing, and limiting exposure time. Avoiding the hours when the sun's rays are strongest, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., is a good idea, but not always practical.

Special Issues for Babies

Until babies are 6 months old, pediatricians usually don't recommend using sunscreens because the risks of these chemicals on infants are not known. Covering up an infant and keeping her out of direct sun for the first six months are much preferred.

Keep your baby in the shade of a tree, under an umbrella, or in a stroller with a canopy. Even on cloudy days, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn. If you're on sand, water, snow, or concrete, be especially careful because UV rays can bounce back from these surfaces.

When you're outdoors, dress your baby in light, loose-fitting clothing that covers his body. Clothes with a tighter weave offer more protection. You can check this by holding the garment up to the light and noticing how much passes through. Always have him wear a hat with a brim because that will shade his face and also protect the ears.

A young child can get a sunburn while riding in the car. Juvenile products stores carry a variety of sunshades for car windows. Using one not only protects your child from the sun's rays and shades out some of the hot sun, but also increases the likelihood of him napping comfortably, making your car ride a lot more pleasant.



|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Child Safety © 2000 by Miriam Bacher Settle, Ph.D., and Susan Crites Price. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

14 Back-to-School Fashion Trends for 2014
Send your kids back to school looking sharp! Check out 2014's hottest back-to-school fashion trends, from clothes to shoes and accessories.

Put a Stop to Bedtime Struggles
Steer clear of tears at bedtime with these helpful bedtime tips and this printable bedtime routine checklist for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!