Summertime means fun in the sun — and also layering up on the sun-safety essentials! Each year, one out of three Americans struggle with getting a sunburn. Sunburns aren’t just annoying; they can be incredibly painful for children, and if left consistently untreated, they can lead to skin cancer.
Look for SPF of 30 or higher.
Both lighter and darker skinned children need sunscreen. Everyone needs sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The AAD also recommends broad spectrum sunscreens. If your child sweats a lot or is constantly running in and out of the pool or ocean, reapply regularly and with a generous amount.
Don’t forget sunglasses.
Exposure to your eyes can be just as damaging as exposure on the skin. Excessive sun exposure over time can lead to cornea damage. An easy way to minimize exposure is ensuring the sunglasses you find are 100% UV protected. Make sure your child heads out the door with their favorite pair of shades. To get them more excited about the glasses, have them pick out a specialty pair with their favorite TV character or color.
Wearing light layers is one of the best ways to prevent sun exposure, especially for babies and toddlers. They have thin skin, and thus, they should be kept out of direct sunlight as often as possible. Wide-brim hats, popup tents, or light long-sleeved shirts that are breathable/sweat wicking can help older children relax in the shade while playing.
Avoid being out when the sun is strongest.
Remember, most sun damage happens when kids least expect it, and often from day-to-day play instead of intense exposure from a day at a theme park or at the beach. The sun is often at its strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If your kids are playing outside during these hours, make sure they have sunscreen. Even on cloudy or overcast days, UV rays can still cause sunburns or damage.
Watch medication and topical medicines.
Certain medications can leave children (and adults) more susceptible to sun exposure. This happens frequently around the face, neck and arms. Double check with your doctor as to which medicines lead to more sensitive skin.
What about sunburns?
Unfortunately, sunburns happen despite your best efforts to prevent them. If your child gets a sunburn, try the following:
- Have them take a cool (not very cold) bath or apply wet compresses to the affected areas. This helps ease the pain.
- Give your child an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen for the pain and swelling.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream on older children to rehydrate the skin and help with pain.
- Have aloe vera gel at the ready, and apply it to any sunburns. Aloe vera is one of the most tried and true ways to address a sunburn for anyone of any age.
If sunburns are severe, call a doctor and make sure your child doesn’t poke, pop or peel any skin/blisters before being treated.
At Lake Forrest Prep, a leading private school in Orlando, we want your family to have a happy — and healthy — summer. If you’re looking for more tips, check out our blog for parents. Want to learn more about Lake Forrest Prep? Schedule a tour by calling 407-331-5144.