Teaching kids to be sun smart is important – here are eight tips to keep in mind this summer to better protect your family.
1. Avoid sending messages associating “looking good” with tanning.
2. Explain the importance of sun protection even to very young children and encourage them to take responsibility.
3. Limit skin exposure to the sun during the times of day when the rays are strongest –10 am to 2 pm.
4. Seek shade whenever possible.
5. Wear a wide brimmed hat –an easier challenge with very young kids. Older kids are less likely to comply so try for a baseball cap and apply sunscreen well to all exposed areas. Sun suits and clothing made with sun protective fabric are another great option for the younger child or willing older child.
6. Protect eyes with UVA/UVB sunglasses. Inexpensive glasses are equally effective as the higher priced ones. Eye protection can help prevent melanoma of the eye (ocular melanoma) as well as cataracts later in life.
7. Regular and liberal use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection) with an SPF of 30 should be encouraged, even on cloudy days and even on darker skinned people. Studies have shown that most people do not apply enough sunscreen. An adult body requires 30 ml (enough to fill a shotglass) and must be applied 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. It should be reapplied every 2 hours, or more often if sweating or playing in the water.
8. Act as a role model. Be sun smart.
About The Author:
Janice Weiss is the mom of two wonderful, university aged kids and a family practitioner with more than 25 years experience working in a Scarborough community practice. She has worked in emergency rooms, sports clinics and a sexual assault care clinic, practiced obstetrics, spent several summers as a camp doctor and loves to teach medical students. She has appeared many times on the television series Diagnosis MD, is a senior medical consultant and the director of continuing medical education at the Medcan Clinic, and is a consultant to the National Ballet of Canada. Her medical interests include preventative health care.
Image Credit: Fifth World Art