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Keeping your kids out of danger this summer

03 July 2017

Holidays in the sun can be a testing time for parents as they have to judge how long to let their children play out in the sun.

Dr Joanna Gach is a Consultant Dermatologist at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Birmingham.  Here she provides ten top tips on how to keep your children safe in the sun.

 

1: Children are better protected from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing long-sleeved clothes (trousers, long skirts, long-sleeved tops) made of closely woven material. Natural fibres such as cotton are best, as the material breaths easily and keeps children cool.

2: Always make sure children wear a hat, preferably with a broad-brim to protect the ears and back of the neck as well.

3: Use sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.  The higher is the SPF of a sunscreen the longer the time before the skin suffers sunburn with sun exposure.

4: Plaster it on and keep topping it up! When sunscreens are tested in a controlled laboratory environment, they are applied very generously – to an extent where the skin is white because of the amount of the sunscreen used.

When your child is playing in the sun some will rub off, some will be washed away by sweat and, of course, much will be lost if they do go in the water. Therefore, it is important to reapply sunscreen regularly to their skin.

5: Sunscreens should be reapplied to all sun exposed areas of skin every two or three hours and more frequently if children are swimming or playing in water. Ideally, even so-called water-resistant sun creams and lotion should be reapplied regularly.  

6: Children’s skin is thinner and more delicate and therefore it can be penetrated by chemicals more easily. Sunscreens specifically designed for children are the best for your child’s skin.

7: Use long trunks and long-sleeved swimsuits to give them more protection in the water. Even  with protective clothing, it is advisable to limit time in the sun to 30 minutes at a before taking them back in the shade.

8: Protect eyes against the sun - get your children (and yourself!) sunglasses with certified UV protection.

9: The sunlight is strongest between 11am and 3pm so it is best to avoid playing or swimming in the direct sunlight between these times.  As they say in Australia “Between eleven and three, hide under a tree!”

10: Consider playing in shaded areas or - do what the locals do -  Siesta! A little mid-day nap would also help you feel refreshed throughout your holidays and keep you out of the sun during the hottest hours.

 

The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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