sun safetyAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a few serious sunburns during childhood can increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Sun exposure is not just limited to water activities. Sun burns can occur just as easily on cloudy, overcast days as well. Any time your children are outside, they should be protected from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Here are a few tips for protecting your children against a sun burn:

  • Shade: The sun is most intense and the UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. If it isn’t possible to avoid exposure during that time, be sure you have shade close by. Trees, umbrellas and tents make for great shade and protection from the damaging rays of the sun.
  • Hats: Hats are great for protecting your face and scalp from the sun. Baseball caps are popular options, but leave the neck and ears exposed. Even when wearing a hat it is important to continue using sun screen.
  • Sunscreen: Every time your child is outside they should be wearing a minimum of SPF 15. Be sure to coat the ears, lips, nose and feet as they are often the most overlooked areas. Apply sunscreen 30 prior to sun exposure and reapply throughout the day, especially after sweating or swimming.
  • Clothing: pants and long sleeved shirts are another way to protect against the suns harmful rays. Clothes made of a tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.

In as little as 15 minutes, the skin can be damaged by UV rays. That is why it is important to always use a minimum of SPF 15 when your children are playing outside. When using sunscreen on babies, follow the directions on the package. Children under the age of 6 months should be kept in the shade away from the harmful UV rays.