With warmer weather finally here — or at least on its way soon — we hope that everyone will be outside enjoying the sunshine and getting plenty of exercise.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your children safe while in the sun:
- Always protect yourself while outdoors, including protective clothing. We recommend lightweight, tight-woven cotton, hats with a brim to help protect your eyes, sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection, and of course, sunscreen.
- Apply a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 about a half hour before you go outside. Reapply every 2 hours while outside. Be sure to reapply after swimming.
- Use sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays. (Sunscreens have a new UVA rating system; 1 star gives the least protection, 4 stars the most.)
- Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone.
- Minimize outdoor activities between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Children under 6 months should avoid being in direct sunlight, and always wear protective clothing and hats. If direct sun exposure is unavoidable, apply sunscreen to the exposed areas before going out, then wash it off after coming back in. When outside, try to find a shady spot, or keep the infant covered with a stroller canopy or umbrella.
- And, finally: avoid tanning salons!
Following these tips will make your time in the sun much safer and healthier. As always, please call with any questions you may have regarding your children and their sun protection.
Dr. Hartung, a Kids Plus Doc since 2001, is a shareholder in the practice.