A trip to the beach on a warm summer day can be awesome, however if you’re not careful, a great day out at the beach can end in tears with painful sunburn and peeling skin. But, it’s not just redness and discomfort to worry about; according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 80% of lifetime exposure to the sun occurs in childhood and just one bad sunburn can increase the risk of developing conditions such as melanoma in later life.
So, if you’re planning to take your family on a trip to the beach this summer, make sure that they are protected with these top sun safety tips.
Tip #1. Time it RightMost families like to spend a full day at the beach, but it’s important to be aware of the times of day when the sun’s rays are at their most powerful. During the summer this is typically between the hours of 10am and 4pm; even on a cloudy day, the ultraviolet rays can be particularly strong in the middle of the day. So, if you are planning a full day out to the beach, make sure that you take along loose clothing for covering up and plenty of sunscreen. Wherever possible, try and keep your little ones in the shade during these times.
Tip #2. Apply Sunscreen GenerouslySunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before your child plays in the sun on the beach; of course they’ll want to wear their cute girls bikini or new pair of shorts, so it’s important to make sure that the exposed skin is given as much protection as possible. It’s vital to opt for a sunscreen that contains a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF); ideally this should be 15 or higher. If your child isn’t a fan of having sunscreen applied, you can find many scented or even colorful products designed to be more appealing to little ones. If you are spending a full day at the beach, then remember to re-apply sunscreen at least every 2-3 hours. If your child takes a dip in the sea, you should re-apply sunscreen again afterwards to make up for any that has been washed off.
Tip #3. Be Careful with MedicationsIs your child currently taking any medications? If so, it’s important to be aware of whether their medicine is likely to increase sun sensitivity. Some medications will increase the skin’s sensitivity and therefore heighten the risk of sunburn; if you believe that your child may be affected by this then it’s always important to check with your doctor before you head to the beach. Some examples of medications with this side effect are prescription antibiotics and certain acne medications.
Tip #4. Cover UpWearing protective clothing is one of the most effective methods for preventing sun damage to the skin. In addition, darker colors are a better choice, since light clothing can transmit the same amount of sunlight as bare skin, especially when wet after paddling in the sea. Along with this, don’t forget the accessories – sunglasses with UV protection will guard against eye damage, whilst a big floppy sun-hat will keep your little one’s sensitive facial skin protected from sunburn.
Tip #5. Lead by ExampleAs a parent, you know just how important it is to make sure that you set a great example to your little ones. But, this isn’t just in terms of behavior – your healthy habits and self-care routines can also leave a lasting impression on your little one’s choices both now and in the future. Be sure to take great care to look after yourself in the sun by applying sunscreen regularly and wearing protective clothing or accessories when necessary. This will demonstrate sun safety to your child, and they will follow your example.
Tip #6. How to Deal with SunburnEven if you take all the necessary steps to avoid your little one getting a sunburn at the beach, there is always the risk. So, knowing how to quickly and effectively deal with sunburn will help to ease any pain and discomfort and put them on the road to a swift recovery. Sore skin can be sponged with cool water before applying a soothing after-sun cream. Administer over-the-counter pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you think that your child may need help with easing the pain. If you notice any swelling or blistering on your child’s skin, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Lastly, be sure to stay in the shade until the redness has gone.
Share your top tips for child sun safety in the comments below!