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Why Sun Protection Is Important For Kids?

Kids love being outdoors but it is vital to protect their skin from direct sunlight to prevent tanning, skin damage, and long-term unwanted skin complications. Because kids’ skin is more sensitive than adults’ and direct sun exposure can harm their skin.

Here we’ll share the importance of sun protection and tips to protect your kid.

Why is sun protection important?

All of us want some sun exposure. When skin is exposed to the sun, our body gets vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium for stronger and healthier bones. For most people to get the vitamin D they need (just a little sunshine), most vitamin D needs to be met with a healthy diet and/or dietary supplements.

Having direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays for a long time can cause skin damage, eye damage, a weakened immune system, and skin cancer as well. An adult can also develop skin cancer.

How Does Sunlight Burns Our Skin?

The sunlight consists of some harmful UV rays and when these rays come in contact with our skin, they cause tanning, burns, and other skin damage. There are mainly two types of sun rays that damage our skin:

  • UVA rays – They cause skin aging and contribute to the development of skin cancers such as melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer). UVA rays pass easily through the ozone layer, so they make up most of our sunbeams.
  • UVB rays – These are also a dangerous form of sunlight that causes, cataracts (deepening of the lens of the eye), and make our immune system weak. They are also involved in skin cancer, and melanoma is estimated to cause UVB burns before the age of 20.

When UV rays come in direct contact with our skin, they react with a chemical in the skin called melanin. Burns occur when the amount of UV light exceeds the protection against melanin in the skin. The risk of injury increases with the number and size of the program.

Who Needs Sun Protection?

Everyone needs sun protection. A person whose natural skin tone is lighter contains less melanin, which absorbs UV rays and protects itself. The darker a person’s natural skin color, the more melanin it contains. But both, dark and light-skinned children need UV protection because tanning or burning can damage our skin.

Here are some basic ways to protect your baby’s skin from sun exposure:

Use Sunscreen –

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all children, regardless of skin color, wears SPF 30 or more sunscreen. Whichever sunscreen you choose, make sure it protects against UVA and UVB rays and with a waterproof marking if children are in or near water. Apply a little amount and repeat often preferable every 2 hours.

Avoid Strong Sunlight –

Try to stay in the shade when the sun is strongest (usually 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the northern hemisphere). If the kids are out in the sun at this time, reapply sunscreen – even if they’re just playing in the garden. Most sun tanning occurs due to exposure to daily activities, not only by playing at the beach. Keep in mind that even on cloudy, cold, or noncloudy days, UV rays reach the ground. This “invisible sun” can cause unpredicted burns to the skin and scalp.

Hide Your Skin From Sunlight –

One of the best ways to protect your skin from sun exposure is with clothes, cover your child as much as possible in cotton clothes to prevent direct sunlight onto their skin.

Babies have thinner skin and less developed melanin, so their skin burns easily. The best protection for babies under 6 months of age is to cover their skin, so they should be kept out of the sun for as long as possible. If your baby needs to be in sunlight, wear clothing that covers their body, including caps with wide curtains that cover their face as well. If your baby is younger than 6 months and still has small skin areas exposed (such as the face), you can use an SPF 15 sunscreen in these areas.

Older children need sun protection as well. For outdoor events, bring a spacious tent or pop-up tent to play with. If the outside weather is not too hot and children can wear light, long-sleeved clothing and/or long pants.

Wear Sunglasses In Daytime –

Sunlight damages the skin and eyes. Any contact with the sunlight can initiate the initial burn of the cornea (the outermost membrane layer of the eye). Over time, the sun’s rays can cause cataracts in the older age of your life (blurring of the lens of the eye, which can cause blurred vision). The best way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.

Let the children choose their glasses to wear with lots of fun options, colorful squares frames, or cartoon characters.

Wear UV-Protection Hats –

By now, you know how important it is to wear sunscreen and sunglasses when you go out. But didn’t you think about wearing a hat at all?

As beautiful as they are, UV-protective hats help to protect your skin from direct sunlight and provide a high level of protection. It’s a good idea to wear these hats in the sun, recommended by many dermatologists because they protect our skin from ultraviolet radiation and provide protection from sun exposure. (Note: The sunscreen needs to be reused every two hours as its protection is reduced by the hour – and many people don’t use it enough for maximum protection).

sun safety for kids

What Happens If My Child Gets Sunburn?

When children get a sunburn, they usually feel pain and warmth – these symptoms get worse after few hours of sunburn. Some even get cold. As the sun dries their skin, it becomes itchy and tight. The skin, which has been exposed to the sun begins to pare about a week after sunburn. Encourage your child not to peel off the skin because it can be harmful after the skin gets sunburnt.

To Treat Sunburn:

  • Give your baby a cold bath, or gently rub a damp cloth on their skin to relieve pain and heat.
  • Apply pure aloe vera gel (available at most pharmacies) to burned areas.

If the sunburn is very severe and sharp, call your doctor. Tell your child not to scratch the skin, otherwise, it can become infected.

Keep your child away from the sun until the wound heals. Any other solar radiation will only aggravate the burn and increase the pain.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

The strength of the sun’s rays depends on the season and the height and width of the place. UV rays are strongest in summer. If you are traveling internationally during the summer, buy or purchase an appropriate sunscreen of good quality.

Extra protection is also needed near the Equator, where the sun is strongest, and at higher altitudes, where the air and clouds are thinner. Even in the winter months, if your family goes skiing in the mountains, make sure you use plenty of sunscreens; UV rays are also resistant to snow and water, increasing the risk of sunburn.

Be a good example to your kids by always using sunscreens, wearing glasses, and limiting your exposure to the sun. It reduces the risk of sun damage and teaches your children good awareness of sunlight.