Spring Break is around with corner and with it come hours of fun at the pool, in the mountains and on your bike. It’s also a great time to start thinking about sun safety for kids.
Colorado’s high-altitude sunshine provides a lot of blue skies, but it also means there’s a mile less atmosphere to help shield us from the sun’s rays. That’s no reason to curtail your family’s active lifestyle, though it’s important to understand measures to protect your family against sunburn, skin cancer and other sun-related illnesses.
- Sunscreen: Choose a sunscreen with a SPF rating of at least 15 that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and is waterproof. Follow instructions on the packaging, but you’ll likely need to keep reapplying every few hours to keep your child protected.
- Intense Hours: When the sun is overhead its rays are the most intense. If possible, limit outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and dodge the most harmful rays of the day.
- Cover Up: Any change in your child’s skin color – including even getting a tan – is a sign of sun damage. Choose clothing that protects your children from the sun, including lightweight long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats that shade faces and sunglasses with UV protection.
- Dark vs. Light, Wet vs. Dry: All clothing’s UV protection isn’t created equal. Darker colors often provide better protection than light ones. Light colors lose some protection when they’re wet – think swimming or running through the sprinklers – so choose wet-activity gear with an eye for color
- Mind Medications: It’s not uncommon for medications to increase your child’s sensitivity to the sun. Pay attention to warning labels as well as changes in skin when starting a new medication. In some cases, sun damage can occur in just a few minutes.
There’s nothing that sucks the fun out of a vacation or a summer weekend than a sunburn, so take precautions this spring and summer when you’re outdoors.