Keep Your Kids Sun Safe

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Living in Northern California, we are fortunate enough to have a summer filled with sunny, hot days. But with our glorious weather comes a serious responsibility - protecting our kids from the sun's unhealthy side effects.

Did you know that just a few serious sunburns in childhood can increase your child's risk for skin cancer later in life? Taking the time now to protect your child's skin will not only prevent the misery that comes with sunburn, but it could also protect them as adults. Here are a few sun safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Seek shade. UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it's best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. Use these options to prevent sunburn, not to seek relief after it's happened.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your child's skin helps protect against UV rays. Although a long-sleeved shirt and long pants with a tight weave are best, they aren't always practical. A T-shirt, long shorts, or a beach cover-up are good choices, too-but it's wise to double up on protection by applying sunscreen or keeping your child in the shade when possible.
  • Get a hat. Hats that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck are easy to use and give great protection. Baseball caps are popular among kids, but they don't protect their ears and neck. If your child chooses a cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses. They protect your child's eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Apply sunscreen. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don't forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet.
  • Reapply sunscreen. Sunscreen wears off throughout the day, especially after your child swims or exercises. This applies to waterproof and water-resistant products as well.
  • Protect baby. Follow the directions on the package for using a sunscreen product on babies less than 6 months old. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your or your child's skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor. Your baby's best defense against sunburn is avoiding the sun or staying in the shade.
  • Know the limits of sunscreen. Keep in mind, sunscreen is not meant to allow kids to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise. Try combining sunscreen with other options to prevent UV damage.
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