During this holiday period going to the pool, beach or simply playing outside is a favourite activity for most young children and is a vital part of their development. Parents need to be aware that too much sun exposure can cause damage to their delicate skin. Research suggests that a bad sunburn with blisters during childhood can significantly increase the risk of melanoma later in adult life.
Protecting your child from the sun should begin when they are babies and continue into and throughout their adult life. Always explain to your children why it is so important and necessary to protect themselves from 'sun damage' by encouraging their participation.
Teach your children why they should:
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on some sunscreen
- Slap on hat.
- Slide on some sunglasses
- Find Shade under a tree/veranda/umbrella
- Schedule outdoor activities and play time for short periods of time especially during the hottest part of the day. When the UV is the highest and the risk of severe burning is increased playing under cover or inside is the bet idea. If you are planning an outing – head for somewhere that has lots of trees for shade and take a large umbrella to sit under.
- Use sunscreen every day – even if it is cloudy. Research indicates that regular use of sunscreen in the first 18 years of life can lower the risk of certain skin cancers .
- Use a good quality broad-spectrum 50+ sunscreen which cuts out both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours, especially after swimming. When travelling in the car always use sunscreen because UVA rays can penetrate the glass and burn your child, even though the windows block the UVB rays.
- Purchase recommended sunscreen suitable for babies and children.
- Make sure you apply sufficient sunscreen to your child's arms, legs, face and body. Check the Cancer Council website for the recommended usage.
Check out https://www.cancercouncil.com.au for more information about sun protection.