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Too much sun can be a problem for anyone but sun exposure can especially be a risk for young children. Children have sensitive skin and bad sunburns that occur early in life contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer in adulthood. Protecting your kids from the sun isn’t just something to remember at the beach or pool – especially here in Arizona, kids should wear sunscreen for any prolonged time outside.
Make Sunscreen a Habit
The best daily habit you can get in to protect your children from sunburns and excessive sun exposure is to make sunscreen part of their daily routine. The harmful UV rays that cause skin damage aren’t blocked by clouds in the sky, so whenever it is daytime your children face exposure to the sun’s radiation.
Look for sunscreen that is “broad spectrum” meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF number should be 15 at the very least, but higher is better. Sunscreen is best applied about a half an hour before going outside, but don’t worry if your timing is off – just be sure your kids are wearing sunscreen whenever they go outside. Sensitive areas like ears and lips can burn quickly so make them a priority not an afterthought when applying sun block. You’ll need to re-up their sunscreen every two hours they are outdoors, as well as after any swimming or sweating.
Dressing for the sun might summon up swimwear and t-shirts, but what you should really be thinking about is coverage. What your kids wear can help them stay safe in the sun. The best options for sun-smart clothing are garments that cover the arms and legs. The type of fabric matters as well – tightly woven fabrics provide more sun blocking than loosely woven textiles and bold and dark colors often block more light than pale colors and white. Most fabrics lose much of their sun blocking benefits when they are wet, so be mindful if your kids are playing around water and remember that kids will need sunscreen on areas a wet shirt doesn’t protect.
Even when Arizona heats up, there is clothing that can offer your kids coverage and comfort. Build your little one’s outdoor wardrobe with sun coverage in mind.
Accessorize for the Sun
Wearing hats and shades isn’t just stylish – it’s smart! Wearing a hat is one of the oldest ways to protect the face and neck from sunburn, and it will help keep your kids cool when it gets hot. Sunglasses look out for your child’s eyes. The UV rays present in sunlight can burn skin and also the fragile tissue of the eye’s retina, contributing to cataracts later in life.
Help your child find hats and sunglasses that keep them safe and that they feel great in. Look for sunglasses with certified UV protection and hats with wide brims that can shade most of their face. Awareness about how important eye protection is from sunlight means that it is easier than ever to find UV rated sunglasses for kids.
Avoid Midday Sun
When you plan your child’s activities can make a huge difference in how much sun they are exposed to. The sun is at its hottest and UV rays at their most direct during the midday hours, when the sun is almost directly overhead. If possible, avoid midday outdoor activities, especially those that bring a high risk of sunburn, like swimming. Instead, opt for outdoor time in the early morning or late afternoon. Intentionally schedule daytime activities that are indoors during the hours where the sun is at its worst.
Make Your Home Sun Safe
Protecting your kids from sunburn starts at home, and that’s why it can be a smart idea to install patio shades and sunscreens. Patio shades can create an oasis for your backyard or outdoor area with UV blocking fabric and a wide variety of styles to choose from. Patio shades can help you rest easy when your kids play outside. Sunscreens protect your home and your belongings from fading and UV damage while reducing your energy bill. Both sunscreens and patio shades make it easier for the whole family to enjoy your home.