School is almost out and that means more time outside! Have more “Yay!” days and less “Ouch!” days by following these 7 tips to protect your kids from the sun all summer long.
Tip 1: Sunblock is Better than Sunscreen
If this is the first time you’re learning there’s a difference between sunblock and sunscreen, you’re not alone. Most people use the terms interchangeably, but the truth is, they’re not the same. (Kudos to our expert sun warriors who already know the difference). Sunblock contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which physically block the sun’s rays by scattering ultraviolet (UV) radiation on contact. Whereas sunscreen absorbs UV radiation with chemicals (Yuck!). Read the ingredient labels of your sunblock to be sure it includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for best protection.
*Bonus Tip* Mineral based sunblock that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, is less irritating, more natural, and also better for the environment!
Tip 2: Know your Numbers
Did you know kids can get a sunburn in as little as 15 minutes of direct sun exposure? Don’t forget to apply sunblock at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and then reapply every two hours after. SPF 30 sunblock provides significant protection up to 99% protection against UVA and UVB rays. No need to buy the higher sunblock claiming to provide better coverage. Regular application of SPF 30 will do the trick.
Tip 3: Pitch Expired Sunblock
By the end of summer, you’ve undoubtedly accumulated a collection of sunblock. It’s in your car, your diaper bag, pool bag, and bathroom. You’ve stashed it anywhere and everywhere to avoid the dreaded sunburn. While we applaud your sun blocking efforts, don’t forget to take inventory before the next summer and purge your expired sunblock. Using expired sunblock can be dangerous and it loses its effectiveness as it ages.
Tip 4: Let the Shade Be Your Friend
While we know the quintessential image of summer is floating on a pool raft with your Wendy Peffercorn shades, opt for more time in the shade and less in the sun. Reducing the amount of direct sun exposure can prevent sunburns, heat exhaustion, and skin damage. Shade is especially important for younger kids. Pop up an umbrella or tent overtop of your kiddo’s water table and sandbox to encourage safer play outside!
Tip 5: UV Protectant Clothing is the New Black
UV protectant clothing provides the best protection for the skin. It is also the best option for sun protection for babies under the age of 6 months. And speaking of black, did you know that darker colors absorb more UV light? During the intense sunny summer months, swap out your darker clothing for white or lighter colors.
Tip 6: Grab the Hat and Sunglasses
Hat hair is worth the great protection offered! Hats cover extra sensitive areas such as the ears, neck, scalp, and face! Sunglasses are more than an accessory. They provide important protection for your eyes that can reduce your risk of Cataracts later in life!
Tip 7: Avoid Aerosol Sunblock
We get it. The aerosol sunblock is great because it is a lot less messy. But what isn’t so great is the dangerous fumes that can be inhaled from the spray and the spotty coverage it provides. Instead, use traditional cream or stick sunblock for a more even application and better coverage.
Don’t let sunburns damper your summer! Practice these 7 tips and you and your family will be happy campers all summer long.