Top Tips for Protecting Your Kids Against the Sunburn

September 6, 2015
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Flickr/Melissa Hillier

Whether planning an extended beach vacation or just a day trip to a local swimming pool, sun safety is extremely important for children.

The harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can be damaging to a young child’s skin, even within a seemingly small time frame. Second, or even third-degree burns from lack of protection can quickly result in a painful hospital stay — one that could have easily been avoided with a little preparation.

Here are a few sun safety tips every parent should know, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.)

  1. The most effective line of defense, according to the AAP, is to cover up from sunlight with clothing, or to stay in shaded areas. Also, try to limit kids’ sun exposure between the  peak intensity hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  2. Don’t forget the SPF sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. Parents, be sure to use sunblock with a minimum of 15 SPF that blocks against both UVA and UVB rays. (Also, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating!)
  3. If your child is too young for sunscreen — under age 6 months — make sure lightweight clothing covers her body and a hat covers her head, or that she remains in a shaded area.
  4. Make sure to have head protection for toddlers and bigger kids, too. Hats with a 3-inch brim, or with a forward-facing bill, are recommended.
  5. Sunglasses are a must because even the eyes can sustain sun damage. The AAP recommends sunglasses that provide 97-100-percent protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  6. Drink water! Kids should always have access to water or a sports drink while playing outside in the heat. Make sure, too, to have children take drink breaks every 20 minutes.

When parents are informed about the dangers of sun exposure and take the proper precautions to avoid painful burns, children can focus on the most important part of vacation time — fun in the sun!

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