Sun exposure has good benefits, but it can also cause damage if unprotected exposure to the sun occurs. It is the number one source of vitamin D and helps our bodies absorb calcium for stronger bones.
Our bodies don’t need a lot of sun to meet the daily recommended amount of vitamin D; however unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun will damage your skin, suppress your immune system, and could result in skin cancer.
Sun safety is very important, and that’s why parents must teach child the necessary precautions at a young age to reduce the chance of developing skin cancer. The lighter your skin complexion and eye color, the more susceptible you are to sun damage. People with freckles can also burn easily because their skin has less melanin to absorb and protect it from UV rays. Darker skin has more melanin, but both dark and light skin needs UV protection.
According to Kidshealth, “Extra protection is also required near the equator, where the sun is strongest, and at high altitudes, where the air and cloud cover are thinner, allowing more damaging UV rays to get through the atmosphere.” So even if it’s cold outside you need to wear plenty of sunscreen.
Covering up and wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways you can protect your child’s skin from the sun. Of course, you need to be sure the clothing you wear is not see-through, as a part of preventing harmful UV rays from piercing the skin.
Choosing sunscreen can be tricky, but that should not scare you. The higher the SPF number on sunscreen labels the better. Always select an SPF that is 30 or greater to help prevent sunburn, a sign of skin damage. You also need a sunscreen that will protect you against UVA and UVB rays (usually labeled as a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen).
Apply it about 15-30 minutes before you child goes outside, and reapply it every 2 hours. If your child starts sweating or has been swimming you need to reapply it sooner. You want your child to play outside and be happy, but your first obligation needs to be to their overall well-being.
Medical Disclosure: Always consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions and/or need help choosing a sunscreen appropriate for your child based on skin type. Also, consult a pediatrician if your child is on any medication.
Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer