The sun is an essential part of our world. As humans, we need to be exposed to the sun as it is our primary source of vitamin D. This vital vitamin helps us absorb calcium for stronger and healthier bones. But it does not take much time to get the levels we need and unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and even cancer.
Most people accumulate more than 50% of their lifetime’s sun exposure before the age of 18 so Ruth Peters, founder of Mama Cocoon, knows just how important it is to teach children how to enjoy fun in the sun safely. Protecting children from the sun not only prevents painful sunburn, it also significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Because babies have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, they burn more easily than older children. Infants should be kept out of the sun entirely to avoid sun burn. But for toddlers and older children, playing in the sun need not be prohibited so long as caution is taken to keep them safe. Ruth has these useful tips that will help ensure your child gets the most out of playing in the sun, with minimum risk.
1. Cover up
One of the best ways to protect your family from the sun is to cover up and shield their skin from the UV rays. The sun can radiate through thin clothing so it is important to make sure that your child has adequate cover. Mama Cocoon now stocks the Bright Tots range of UV filter clothing, which is perfect for playing on the beach or in the back garden. They provide a sun protection factor of +50 and are endorsed by the Australian cancer council. In addition, wide brimmed hats and protective eyewear also help to shadow the face and reduce damage to the eyes.
2. Always wear sun cream
A high factor sun cream is a must for children exposed to the sun, even when it is cloudy the ultraviolet rays can still get through and cause sun damage. Creams can come off easily through contact with water, sweat and rubbing with a towel so applying it regularly will prevent any problems. Make sure you use enough cream to cover the entire body fully.
One really useful tip is to remember that not all sun protection factors (SPF) are the same so if you are abroad and purchasing sun lotion, it is important to check. As an example, American SPF numbers are usually twice as high as European products so your child may not be getting as much protection as you think.
3. Provide shade
Long exposure to the sun, for older children as well as young, can make them feel tired and irritable and it’s important to provide areas of shade where they can play as well. For all-day outdoor affairs, bring along a wide umbrella or pop-up tent to play in. Hands-free umbrellas, available at Mama Cocoon, are the perfect solution to provide shade when the sun shines but can also be used to keep dry when the rain inevitably comes! Their superior fabric offers a SPF of +50 so you can be sure that no harmful rays will get through.
Keeping your child out of the sun between 10am and 2pm (when it is at its hottest) is a good idea so alternative areas, with fun activities, help to reduce their exposure and give them a break from the heat.
4. Treat sun burn carefully
In the unfortunate event that your child does get sun burnt then it is important that they remain out of the sun until the burn has healed. Applying aloe vera gel is excellent at relieving pain and helping the skin heal more quickly. Other after-sun products can help to cool the skin and a pharmacist will be able to advise you on the best remedies. However, if the sun burn is severe, if it blisters or a rash appears, it is really important to consult a doctor. Children’s skin is too precious to take the risk so if in doubt, seek medical attention.
For most, playing outdoors during the summer months, splashing about in the pool, or running through sprinklers in the garden, are some of the happiest childhood memories they possess. By being careful, applying sun cream, and covering up, we can allow our children to create their own happy memories without the risk of damaging their skin.
For more details on the range of UV protective clothing available at Mama Cocoon, please visit www.mamacocoon.co.uk or search for Mama Cocoon on Amazon.