child_skin.jpegAs the summer sun brightens our days, it's essential to prioritize the skin health of our little ones. At Beittel-Becker Pediatric Associates, we are committed to providing your family with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure your children enjoy the sunny days safely.

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Today, we'll share five ways to ensure your child is safe from UV radiation this summer. By incorporating these summer skincare tips, you can provide the best possible care and protection for your child's skin, ensuring a healthy and enjoyable summer.

#1: Make Sure You Understand Sun Protection Factors (SPF) and Choose the Right Sunscreen

Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is a crucial measure of how well a sunscreen can protect the skin from UVB rays, the type of radiation that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer.

Using sunscreen with the appropriate SPF can significantly reduce the risk of sun damage, which not only prevents discomfort but also lowers the long-term risk of developing skin cancer.

Choosing the Right Type of Sunscreen

  • Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens: These products are highly recommended because they protect against both UVA and UVB rays, offering more comprehensive protection against sun exposure. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can prematurely age the skin cells, while UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburn.
  • Water-Resistant Sunscreens: Ideal for days at the beach or pool, water-resistant sunscreens maintain their SPF protection even when your child is playing in the water. Remember, no sunscreen is entirely waterproof, so reapplication is crucial after swimming or heavy sweating.

Application and Reapplication Tips

For best results, apply sunscreen generously on all exposed skin, including often-forgotten areas like the ears, back of the neck, and tops of feet. Be sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before your child goes outside to allow it time to absorb and begin protecting.

Sunscreen should be reapplied approximately every two hours or more often if your child is swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Even if using a high-SPF, broad-spectrum product, reapplication is crucial to maintain protection throughout the day!

#2: Dress Your Child For Advanced UV Protection

The way your children are dressed can greatly affect their protection against the sun. While sunscreen is essential for exposed skin, clothing acts as the first line of defense against the sun's harmful rays.

  • Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pants: These cover more skin than t-shirts and shorts and provide better protection from UV rays. Fabrics with a tight weave are more effective at blocking out sunlight.
  • Straw Hats: A wide-brimmed straw hat can protect the scalp, face, ears, and neck—areas highly susceptible to sun exposure.
  • Sunglasses: UV-protective sunglasses are crucial for protecting your child’s eyes and the delicate skin around them. Ensure the sunglasses are labeled as blocking 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays.

Choosing UV-Protective Fabrics

Some clothing comes with a UV Protection Factor (UPF) rating, which indicates how well the fabric shields skin from UV rays.

  • UPF Ratings: Clothes labeled with a UPF of 50 allow just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin, providing significant protection.
  • Materials and Weave: Dense, tightly woven fabrics like denim or canvas are more protective than lighter materials. Some synthetic fibers are specially treated to absorb UV radiation.

#3: Time Your Outdoor Activities & Stay Shady

One effective way to minimize the risk of sun damage is to plan outdoor activities when the sun's rays are less intense. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun reaches its peak between 10 AM and 4 PM, so scheduling outdoor playtime outside these hours can significantly reduce exposure.

Another great way to stay protected on an especially sunny day is by seeking shade whenever and wherever you can. Here are some examples:

  • Natural Shade: Trees and other large plants provide excellent natural shade. Encourage play in these areas, especially during peak sun hours.
  • Artificial Shade: When natural shade is not available, create your own with umbrellas, canopies, or pop-up tents. These are particularly useful at places like the beach or open parks where natural shade may be scarce.
  • Strategic Placement: Position play areas so that they are protected from direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. Even in shaded areas, remember that UV rays can reflect off surfaces like water, sand, and concrete, so additional protection (like sunscreen) is still necessary.

#4: Be Sure To Teach Your Little Ones

The foundation of effective sun protection is education. Teaching children about the risks associated with sun exposure and the importance of sun protection can empower them to make safer choices throughout their lives.

Educate children on how the sun’s rays can cause skin damage, including sunburns, and long-term effects such as skin cancer. Explain the use of sunscreens and the importance of wearing protective clothing and seeking shade. Make learning interactive and engaging to help children remember these key points.

#5: Incorporate Sun Protection Into Daily Life

Establishing a daily routine that includes sun protection can significantly reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. Here are some practical ways to make sun safety a seamless part of everyday life:

  • Accessible Sunscreen: Keep sunscreen at hand by placing it near the front door, in the bathroom, and in the car. This makes it easy to apply before heading outdoors, ensuring no one forgets this important step.
  • Prep for the Day: Integrate sunscreen application into your family’s morning routine, much like brushing your teeth, to ensure it becomes a habitual part of getting ready.
  • Sun Protection Stations: Set up small stations in the house with hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing near exits to encourage their use.

The Role You Play As A Parent

Parents are the primary role models for their children, and their habits can influence how seriously children take their own sun protection.

Always wear sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing yourself. Lead by example and show your children that sun safety is important for everyone, regardless of age.

You should also try to include your children in the application of sunscreen and choosing sun-protective outfits. This teaches them how to protect themselves and emphasizes the importance of regular sun safety practices.

Have Safe Fun In The Sun This Season!

Now that we've established the five key tips, it's time to leave you with one more: Make sure that you have fun this summer! This is an excellent time to make lifelong memories with your child and to teach them skills that will set them up for success years into the future.

If you encounter any obstacles, though, our expert team of pediatricians atBeittel-Becker is here to help. Whether it's questions about sun safety or routine visits to make sure your child is healthy, our team is ready to give you and your family top-notch care all summer long.

If you're looking to confidently navigate the early days of parenthood or seek guidance on the best practices for newborn care, reach out to our team of experienced pediatricians at Beittel-Becker Pediatric Associates or schedule an appointment directly online today!

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