It’s summertime, so you know it’s more important than ever to protect your kids from the hot sun. But many parents often have questions about ultraviolet (UV) protection — and for good reasons! After all, what’s the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen? It’s not always easy to know which choices are best for your kids.
Here’s a quick guide on how to keep your kids protected from sun damage this summer:
1. Choose Protective Clothes and Accessories
You’re about to head to the beach or park, and it’s around 80 degrees outside. You’re probably inclined to choose T-shirts and shorts for your little ones. That’s a smart idea since you don’t want them to overheat. You’ll want to pack hats and sunglasses, too. You should also try a rash guard if you plan to venture into the water. The more physical protection, the better.
Think about your clothes’ materials. Sometimes, clothes come with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor that can help you determine how well they protect you from UV rays. In general, it’s best to pick tightly knit, comfortable pieces made from polyester or rayon. These options allow for further defense against the sun — which everyone should seek.
2. Look for Shaded Outdoor Areas
A shaded area can be the difference between protected skin and sun damage. But when only 3% of playgrounds offer full shade, it’s not always easy to make sure your kids stay protected while they play. There’s a considerable chance they’ll come home sunburned unless there’s consistent sun blockage. That’s why it’s essential to pack your own overhead protection if possible.
In addition to wide-brimmed hats, bring an umbrella if you want to take a spot on the grass or sand. You don’t want to bet on a naturally shaded spot — especially if there are limited areas. You could also open your car’s trunk for a place to eat snacks when necessary. You may even want to skip the park entirely unless there’s some cloud cover.
Avoid all excursions that don’t involve shade if you have an infant. It’s not safe for babies under six months to wear sunscreen, so you’ll have to be extra diligent to keep them protected. Make sure to dress them appropriately for the heat and sun. Keep them covered at all times, and remember to supply them with enough liquids to stay hydrated.
3. Explore a Few Sunscreen Options
Always choose a sunscreen that offers a high sun protection factor (SPF). Look for options that contain a 30 SPF or higher, as well as water-resistant types. If your kids have an allergy to sunscreen, talk to a dermatologist to figure out your options. You may also want to search for physical sunscreens that include titanium dioxide, as they’re better for sensitive skin — and our oceans.
In any case, you should always wear sunscreen, whether you choose a physical or chemical version. Be sure to reapply your kids’ sunscreen more often than not. Take a full bottle with you wherever you go, and don’t forget to apply it even when it’s cloudy outside. You can still become sunburned even when you can’t see the sun.
Pack a sunscreen stick and lip balm. A stick can help you cover your kids’ faces and ears more effectively. We often overlook our lips, too, even though they can become as burned as our bodies. These products also give you more ways to make sure your children stay safe. Always apply your sunscreen around 30 minutes before you arrive at your destination so there’s enough absorption time.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Tender Skin
As a parent, you’re always ready to act when there’s a problem. Unfortunately, a day at the beach can quickly turn harmful if you don’t keep an eye on your kids’ skin. Some kids may not show sunburn symptoms until hours later, so it’s essential to actively limit sunburn. That said, you may not always be able to protect every inch of your children’s skin. It’s still possible for them to turn a little pink.
Do a quick once-over each time you reapply your children’s sunscreen. If you notice any tenderness, it’s time for them to return to the shade. You shouldn’t send them back out to play unless you’ve brought protective clothes. More sunscreen won’t prevent the damage that’s already occurred, so they should take a quick breather and chill under the shade.
Have them take a cool bath or shower when you return home. Give them ibuprofen to reduce the redness and inflammation, and apply a little aloe vera gel to the area. You should also make sure they drink enough water over the next few days. These steps can make a nasty sunburn much more manageable.
Use These Tips to Enjoy Your Time Outside
Sunburn is more than just uncomfortable. It can lead to significant health issues if you’re not diligent and careful enough. Use these tips to keep your family safe under the sun, so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest.