Sun Safety

 

The hot summer sun can be dangerous for children.

Bad sunburns and too much time spent in the sun without skin protection have been linked to a higher risk of skin cancer later in life.

During the summer months, children can easily lose body fluid and become dehydrated.  Children’s skin can also be burned by touching hot surfaces, such as pavement, metal slides or car doors.

How can I keep my child safe from the sun?

Avoid being in the sun for long periods of time at the start of the season.  Gradually increase the amount of time you spend outdoors with your child over a period of several days.  When possible stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest time of the day;  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To prevent sunburn:

  • Make sure favourite play areas have a shady-spot or bring along a sun umbrella.
  • Your child should wear a sun hat with a wide brim and a flap, sunglasses with 100% UV protection (“broad spectrum”) and loose cotton clothing to protect skin from the sun’s rays.
  • Apply a sun block cream with an SPF (sunprotection factor) of at least 30 on all areas of your child’s skin that will be exposed to the sun.  Use a lip balm with SPF 15 as well.   Remember to put sunblock on:
    • Ears
    • Nose
    • Back of neck and legs
    • Tops of feet
  • Reapply sunscreen after swimming and playing with water.
  • Sun block cream is not recommended for babies under 6 months old as they can rub it into their eyes or put it in their mouths.
  • Always protect babies from the sun.

Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

Be alert for signs that a child is experiencing heat illness and needs to go inside.   Signs include thirst, fatigue, leg or stomach cramps, and cool, moist skin, which can be a sign of heat exhaustion.

Most importantly, teach by example and remember to protect yourself from the sun as well.

Source: Canadian Paediatric Society.

 
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