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Practicing Sun Safety During a Pandemic

Keep up the good fight against harmful UV rays.

With spring and warmer days here, many families are spending more time outdoors – and with the governor’s Stay-at-Home orders, walks around the neighborhood and backyard playtime have become the go-to for variety of scene and exercise. While there’s nothing more fun than watching your kids play, the time in the sun can take a toll on your child’s skin. Taking the necessary precautions to protect your family from the dangers of the sun might be the last thing on our minds right now, but it’s important to stay vigilant.

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 when you order online, 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 establish life-long good habits and protect your family year-round.

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