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Practicing Sun Safety

With summer right around the corner, many families will be taking trips to the beach for some much needed rest and relaxation. There’s nothing more fun than watching your kids play in the ocean and make sandcastles, but long days in the hot sun can take a toll on your child’s skin. Taking the necessary precautions to protect your family from the dangers of the sun is vital to making the most out of your vacation.

Knowing how to protect your family is the first step. Here are some quick tips on how to enjoy the sun safely:

 

1. Apply sunscreen

According to the CDC, applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 is recommended every time your child goes outside. It is best to apply it 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun. This will help prevent sunburns that increase the risk of developing skin cancer. There is some debate over whether or not higher SPF sunscreens actually protect the skin better. Higher SPFs can create a false sense of security and cause people to neglect other sun safety habits. To ensure full protection, reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, no matter the SPF.

 

2. Wear protective clothing

Dark, loose fitting clothes provide maximum protection from the sun. Dark colored clothing absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which prevents radiation from entering your child’s body through the skin. Have your child wear a wide-brimmed hat in combination with protective clothing to shade their face.

 

3. Avoid the sun at peak hours

The sun’s UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, avoid unnecessary exposure during this time. If your kids are out during these hours, make sure they are aware of the sun’s intensity.

 

4. Know the shadow rule

The shadow rule is a quick and easy way to help your child understand when it is necessary to get out of direct sunlight and seek shade. If your child’s shadow is shorter than their height, the sun’s rays are too intense and more likely to cause sunburn. Your child should go play in an area with more shade until the sun’s intensity dies down.

 

5. Wear sunglasses

This may seem obvious, but be sure your child wears sunglasses while outside. The Skin Cancer Foundation states children under 10-years-old are most at risk for eye damage from UV rays. Sunglasses can be fun for your kids and allow them to show off their individual style. Have your child pick out their own pair and they will be more likely to wear them.

 

Practice these tips with your child for a more enjoyable time outside. These sun safety tips will help you get the most out of your beach vacation and protect your family year-round.

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