With summertime at the helm and the weather getting hotter, your child will definitely want to be hanging outdoors until the sun goes down. While making sure your child is physically active and engaged is certainly important, emphasizing safety under the sun is also very crucial.
As kids play under the summer heat, it’s imperative to be mindful about their skin health. Utilizing sunblock and being educated on potential dangers of the sun are major key points as we head into the hotter months.
Dangers of the sun
After a long winter and a cold spring, parents and children alike are excited to soak up the sun this summer! However, as great as the sun may feel, there are big downsides to be aware of. Here are some pitfalls to look out for!
Sunburn is probably the biggest offender when it comes to safety under the sun. According to Mayo Clinic, sunburn leads to swelling and irritated, sore skin — and is a result of excessive ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure from the sun.
As your child attends camp and plays in the sun, it’s also important to be mindful of the risk factors of getting sunburn. Children who are lighter and those who take medications that lead to photosensitivity are more likely to get sunburn than others. Sunburn can also lead to wrinkled skin, premature aging, and skin cancer.
Another hugely important note from Mayo Clinic also points out that wet skin makes you more vulnerable to sunburn, as it burns quicker than dry skin.
UV rays, which are emitted not only from the sun, but also from secondary sources like tanning beds, can be harmful if exposed to for a long period of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun emits Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB), and Ultraviolet C (UVC) rays — the latter of which is absorbed by the ozone layer, making it the least harmful.
UVA and UVB rays, however, should be top priority when it comes to protecting your child’s safety under the sun. The CDC mentions that UVA rays are weaker than UVB rays, though they do penetrate skin deeper and are more prevalent throughout the year. They can also affect the eyes.
In the most serious cases, skin cancer can occur from overexposure to the sun. Be on the lookout for moles that appear on your skin and use the ABCDE rule (asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolving) to diagnose. Too much exposure and improper safety under the sun can also lead to melanoma, which Mayo Clinic calls the most severe form of skin cancer.
Counteracting sun dangers
Protecting you and your child from the dangers of the sun doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are some basic tips to maintain good skin health and safety under the sun.
Selecting the appropriate sunblock for those hot summer days can definitely help you and your child stay safe under the sun. According to the American Cancer Society, choosing a sunblock that offers “broad spectrum” (encompassing both UVA and UVB rays) will help in combating sun-related dangers. Choose a sunblock that offers a Sun Protection Filter (SPF) of 30 or higher — as SPF 30 filters out 97% of UV rays, SPF 50 filters out 98%, and SPF 100 filters nearly 99%.
Use UV ray-blocking sunglasses
An often-understated danger of UV ray exposure is the effect it may have on your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, UV rays can cause corneal damage, eye cancers, cataracts, and snow blindness.
One of the biggest (and most obvious) things one can do is not stare at the sun — but it’s also important to use UV ray-blocking glasses. LensCrafters notes that “Lenses that are UV400 or greater filter out 99.9% of UVA and UVB light.”
Choose the right clothing
If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, which will help defend your skin against UV rays. Of course you’ll most likely be hotter and will want to keep tabs on how hydrated and well you feel, but the right clothing choices can make all the difference between being protected or not.
Wearing a hat can also protect your face and eyes — and don’t discount staying in the shade! Staying in the shade is not a surefire defense, but it does help keep you cool and maintain safety under the sun.
Remaining hydrated is also important in maintaining safety under the sun. Be sure to drink plenty of water the night before to prepare for the next day at camp, and also be sure to pack a few water bottles for the day.
Remaining active in the sun without drinking water can lead to dehydration. According to Mayo Clinic, dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. In severe cases, it can also cause fainting. Hydration, however, provides important protection to your organs and joints, regulates body temperature, and affords nutrition to your cells.
You can instill good drinking habits in your child by replacing soda and other sugary drinks with water throughout the day. Eight glasses of water is always a good rule of thumb to follow.
Make healthy choices
Choosing the right foods to eat may be challenging, but they also prove to be beneficial in the long-run — especially when the summertime is around. As your child will want to play in the sun this summer, encourage them to not only drink water, but to also eat healthy snacks throughout the day.
Ensuring they do so will provide them with essential vitamins, nutrients and hydration throughout the day. In fact, packing water-filled foods such as celery, cucumbers, apples, lettuce, and/or tomatoes can certainly keep your child hydrated and energized throughout the day.
Maintaining safety under the sun at LuHi
At LuHi, we make sure your child has the most comfortable experience possible. Our campus provides ample shade in several locations throughout the campus, and we also balance our indoor and outdoor activities to prevent children from overheating.