Although the sun feels good, its ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn whenever you're out in the sun too long. Even with gradual exposure, tanning may be the skin’s response to sun damage and is not necessarily healthier. UV rays can cause serious diseases, such as skin cancer and damage to eyes.
Use the following tips to help protect children from the sun.
- It’s best to keep your child out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. – midday is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Keep your infant under six months in the shade. Babies and young children have thinner skin than adults.
- Dress your child in loose, dry, lightweight, light-colored, cotton clothing.
- Have your child wear a hat and sunglasses with UV protection to protect the eyes.
- Use waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Reapply every two hours. Don’t forget the tops of the ears.
- If your child has light hair, light eyes and fair skin, they will sunburn more quickly and should use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Be sure to use sunscreen on cloudy days, in the shade and in winter, too. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and hazy skies, and they can reflect off the ground – off sand, concrete, snow and more.
- Know that the sun’s rays are stronger when you’re in or near the water because the rays reflect off the water.
- Offer plenty of water to your child, even if they’re not thirsty.
- Know the signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, nausea, weakness, headache or stomach cramps. Remove your child from the sun if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. Provide rest and plenty of fluids.