Most people are well aware about the dangers of UV rays these days and they’ve had more than enough warnings and advice about what to do to stay safe. However, some still fail to take even the most basic precautions when allowing their children to play in the sun.
Of course, children can be demanding and they always want to get out as soon as possible; the mere idea of putting sun cream and hats on is so completely out of the question to them that’s it’s laughable. However, it’s at these times that as parents we need to stay resolute in our efforts to protect them. It’s futile arguing with your children about sun protection and how important it is, and it’s often usually quicker to simply insist and get on with it.
Which sun cream to buy is probably one of the greyest areas about sun protection there is. It’s far simpler to buy the maximum protection for your children and not risk it. Your children shouldn’t really have any desire to get an all over body tan, they’re usually too busy worrying about how much time they have to play.
What is SPF?
There is a simple science to the SPF (sun protection factor) of your cream, and it’s not used to measure the amount of time you can stay out in the sun, not how strong it is. SPF was originally designed in the 60s by measuring the amount of time it took people without sun cream on to burn and then how long it took them when they were protected. If you calculate how long it usually takes you to burn and multiply it by the SPF on your bottle you’ll get a basic idea of how long you can stay out in the sun; someone who burns in 10 mins without cream will have around 150 minutes time in the sun using an SPF 15.
However, children and babies in particular need to have their sun cream “topped up” frequently throughout the day and you need to ensure that you rub it well in and build layers, paying particular attention to places like: back of the neck, tops of ears, face and backs of legs.
If your children are swimming in a pool or at the beach then make sure you have coated them thoroughly in water resistant sun cream. It’s also important that you allow enough time for at least some of the cream to become absorbed into the skin before they go in the water.
Clothing, whilst enormously important in the sunny weather, is not adequate protection for your children unless they are specialist UV protective clothes. There are a few steps to follow when you choose appropriate clothes to wear in the sun:
- Always put sun cream on your children before you dress them, clothing is not an adequate sun block.
- Try to choose white or very light colours because these will reflect heat and keep them cooler.
- Try to avoid your children taking off their shirts unless they are swimming etc.
- Always make sure your children have hats on. The head is a very common area to get sunburned and excessive heat on the skull can cause sickness and sun stroke.
Keeping babies safe in the sun
Although you shouldn’t keep your baby out long in the sun at all, it’s sometimes difficult to do if you plan to do a lot of travelling in the sun or spend the day on the beach etc. It is enormously important to keep your baby protected in all the ways listed above, but in addition, rather than just relying on positioning pushchairs etc out of the son, you can invest in a UV travel tent to allow your baby to sleep and have a little space to move around in the sun. The SPF varies on different models but it’s usually around 30, so with all the other measures you can take, a UV tent is certainly going to be an added bonus.
It may seem like a lot to remember and a lot to do before you go out for the day, but such is the nature of the beast. The sun is unforgiving, and the amount of pain and trouble it can cause to not follow these instructions simply isn’t worth thinking about.
Have fun in the sun, but stay safe!