By now, you all know how important sunscreen is, even on cloudy days and in the winter. We’ve talked about how often you should reapply and what under circumstances in order to protect your skin year round. However, the same effort that adults should be putting into their skincare and skin safety goes for kids, if not more! Babies and young children should follow the same rules of sunscreen safety and protection, and maybe even take a few extra precautions since they’re younger and may not be able to do some things themselves. Whether it’s cloudy where you are or it’s officially summer, check out these tips for keeping your kid’s skin safe year round!
The Importance of Sunscreen for Kids
According to CaringforKids.cps.cpa., the sun can be dangerous for kids, and even on cloudy days, they can still experience sunburn. Extreme exposure to the sun and bad sunburns can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer later on in life, and we want to do our best to avoid that. Kids lose a lot of fluids in the summer through sweat and dehydration. They can easily burn their skin by touching very hot surfaces, like sliding down a hot slide or being on hot pavement while drawing. Sunscreen could provide that protective layer they need to be able to help withstand the sun’s rays and keep the fun going.
How to Keep Your Child Safe from the Sun
Choose a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Sunscreen is the most efficient way to protect your kid’s skin while they’re out in the sun. Be sure to apply sunscreen to all areas that may be exposed. How often you need to reapply may depend on the weather, time of day, and other factors. Just like for adults, for kids it’s suggested you reapply at least twice during their time out in the sun, including after swimming or sweating heavily, and every 2-3 hours if they’re out for an extended period of sun exposure.
Kids are always on the go, which is why we created our quick & easy option, BGS Kids Spray & Play. With powerful protection of SPF 50 this kids sunscreen provides UVA and UVB protection and doesn’t have parabens, which is great for sensitive skin! The best way to apply is to spray it on until you see your skin glistening. If you want some extra tips on how to apply, take a peek at this blog post. A quick fix like this could give your kids great protection with minimal effort or worry.
Cover Up with Protective Clothing
Another important aspect of protection is clothing and/or accessories. Wide-brimmed hats, like fisherman hats and sunglasses, can be super helpful for protection. There’s UV-rated clothing (with SPF 50+), which is highly protective, and loose cotton material is highly recommended as well because it’s cooler. Try not to constantly let your kids wear sleeveless shirts or shorts because that exposes more skin. When possible, opt for short sleeves or light and loose pants/jeans.
Avoid the Strongest Rays
From about 10 am – 2 pm, the sun’s rays are at their peak, and that’s the most dangerous time to be out, so try staying indoors. Also, check your kid’s medications – some medications make your kid’s skin more sensitive to UV rays, so if they do, it may be for the best to keep them inside and avoid direct sunlight as much as possible during peak hours.
Sunscreen for Babies
Because babies are small and not able to understand the importance of sun safety and skin care, they’re going to need a bit of extra help. RaisingChildren.net.au says that sunscreen is not recommended for babies less than six months of age. Because of this, the following tips are recommended to keep your baby safe.
First off, try dressing your baby in UV-rated clothing, or very loose clothing. Like we mentioned before, a cute hat for your baby is a great idea, and you can even drape a blanket over the carrier or stroller where they are to protect them. Make sure it’s not super transparent though and blocks the sun and provides a good amount of shade. Another thing you can do is if you’re letting your baby play on a blanket in the yard or on the beach, try putting a large umbrella above them to provide shade – again, shoot for non-transparent material. If your baby is over six months, it’s strongly advised to use sunscreens that explicitly state they are safe for babies, as they’re better for their sensitive skin.
Role Model Sun Safety Behavior
We all know kids are like sponges, they imitate the adults around them. The best way for your kids to catch on to how to take care of their skin and the importance of sunscreen is to show them! Make sure they see you putting on sunscreen and try making those moments fun. Staying hydrated is very important as well, so make sure you’re keeping up with your water intake and the kids are keeping up with theirs. Do your best to show up and show out so they know the importance of sun safety and that melanin is great, but it does need to be protected.
My Kid Got Sunburned, Now What?
When a child gets sunburned, the symptoms are similar to when it happens to an adult and can be: irritated, red, itchy, tight, flaky, etc. KidsHealth recommends the following –
- Have your child take a cool (not cold) bath and apply cool compresses to the affected areas.
- Apply aloe vera, or moisturizers with a significant amount of aloe vera, to the burned areas. Aloe vera is a natural, sticky substance that is excellent for burns and feels good because of the cooling effect it has on the skin.
- Make sure to double check with your doctor, nurse or other health professional to see what types of medications could help in a situation like this.
- Avoid petroleum-based products like Vaseline and benzocaine.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
If the burn becomes extremely painful, blisters develop, or you don’t see progress, be sure to seek urgent or emergency care.
Kids should get to enjoy their time in the summer, or whenever they want to have fun! Always remember the importance of protecting all melanated skin, whether it’s younger or older!