5 Tips to Protect Your Children’s Skin This Summer

July 2021

Did you know, it only takes one serious sun burn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life? Unfortunately, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, you can decrease chances of developing melanoma by practicing proper skin protection with your children from day one.

Here are 5 tips to protect your child from harmful UV rays and overexposure. 

Stay in the Shade

This may seem obvious, but shade is the best form of protection from the sun. Keep your child in the shade as much as possible. Be ready to create your own by having an umbrella, canopy, or stroller hood handy. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are also great ways to provide personal shade.

Sun-Protective Clothing

Resist the urge to put your little one in shorts and a sleeveless shirt on a hot day. Light, long-sleeved shirts and pants are an excellent protective layer for their sensitive skin. UPF clothing, specifically designed to protect skin from UV rays, is another great option. When purchasing UPF protective clothing, keep an eye out for the UPF rating. UPF ratings indicate what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. A fabric must have a UPF rating of more than 15 to be considered sun protective. A rating of UPF 30 is sufficient, but UPF 50 will provide the best sun protection.

Apply Sunscreen, Properly

If your child is younger than six months old, limit the frequency and amount with which you apply sunscreen on them. For children older than six months 30 SPF, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide is recommended. Have you heard of the “teaspoon and shot glass rule”? To make sure you are applying the correct amount of sunscreen, Harvard Health recommends 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover the face and neck, and enough to fit a shot glass (approximately 1 ounce) for remaining exposed areas. Always remember to reapply immediately after swimming (even if it is water-resistant!) and every two hours.

Avoid the Strongest Rays

Direct sunlight is dangerous, and it is typically strongest from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Try to stay in the shade, dress in sun-protective clothing and apply sunscreen properly during these hours. Be cautious even on cloudy and overcast days. The “invisible sun” can cause sun damage and sun burns!

Be Careful Around Water and Sand

Water and sand reflect sunlight, making the damaging rays of the sun much stronger. If your child is out and about near sun and water, be sure to practice the sun protection practices we’ve outlined here.

Protecting your children from the dangers of skin cancer (let alone parenting in general) is a daunting task. With these tips and expert recommendations, you will have an excellent foundation to keep your child safe and raise skin cancer awareness in your family.  Remember that these practices are important all year round! While risk is heightened during the warmer summer months, skin damage can occur year-round.

Book a free consultation with our board-certified dermatologists at one of our locations in Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, or Ohio if you are looking for an annual skin check, dermatology services, or just want to know more.”