Spring’s here and that means summer is right around the corner.
And, if you’ve been cooped up in the house during this long winter, then I’m sure you can’t wait to get out into the sun and snap out of your cabin fever.
If you’re planning some fun in the sun, you’re going to want to do everything you can to protect your kids from sunburns. A few bad sunburns as a child may seem like a temporary inconvenience, but they can increase your child’s chances of getting skin cancer when they’re older.
Let’s look at easy ways to protect your kids to stay safe in the sun:
The general rule of thumb is that you need to apply (and reapply) sunscreen about every two hours you’re outside in direct sunlight.
Additionally, make sure that you’re using sun protection designated for UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) rays. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to areas like the neck, ears, and face. Use sunscreen that’s waterproof (even sweat can wash off sunscreen) and reapply if you go into the water.
An easy way to protect your child from the sun is by covering them up as much as possible. Now, I’m not saying put the poor kid in a hazmat suit that covers them from head to toe. But, if weather allows, have them wear long sleeves and pants when going outside to protect their arms and legs.
If you’re at the beach or the pool, invest in a swim shirt that has built-in UVA protection. You can protect your child’s face with a big floppy hat (or a baseball cap).
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, darker clothes have been found to provide more protection than lighter colored clothes. (Many people shy away from these because they think the darker colors attract the sun more.)
Finally, don’t forget to protect your child’s eyes with a good pair of sunglasses that offers UVA protection.
Use shade as much as possible! If you’re going to the beach, bring an umbrella or portable “beach tent” so you can get into the shade when the sun gets too hot.
Check with your child’s school to make sure they have a shaded area outside on the playground or the PE practice fields. The sun is at its worst during mid-day (specifically from about noon to 3 or 4 PM). If you can, get outdoors during the early morning or late afternoon and schedule indoor activities during this extreme time.
With a little planning and prep, the whole family can enjoy time in the sun!
No need to be afraid of the sun, especially for your children. Protecting them now, protects them later. It’ll give them lifelong habits that will help them take care of their skin and hopefully stave off skin cancer well into their adult life.
Unfortunately, that also leads to a very high rate of injury among these children and teens. When you hear about the horrific injuries that pile up in professional sports, you must realize that 40% of all sports-related injuries happen to children between 5 and 14 years old.
Here are more stats that put the problem of kids’ sports related injuries into perspective:
1. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half of all sports related injuries could have been prevented. This underscores the need for children to wear proper protective gear and to be careful when practicing or playing a sport.
In the case of biking and skateboarding, children should always wear safety head gear. In other sports, schools need concussion policies in place for the diagnosis and treatment of this condition so that injured students aren’t put in harm’s way by playing hurt.
3. In one year, there were 1.35 million emergency room visits for children all stemming from just 14 sports. What makes this especially problematic is the fact that these are ER visits, which are generally more expensive for those dealing with insurance payments.
But also, many times parents don’t follow up with treatment because they think the problem has been taken care of by the ER physician. Often the ER doctor is just getting the child stabilized and out of the “danger zone” and full treatment requires attention from the child’s regular doctor.
Look, we all want to take care of our children and as much as we want to, you can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap and protect them from the world until they’re 18. You must let them go out and experience the world and if you don’t let them take part in sports activities, you’ll seriously hinder the physical and social development.
However, you must consider if contact sports are the right option for your child and in all situations, you need to ensure your child is protected with the right gear and gets the right treatment if they are injured.