As the hot summer temperatures climb, families are taking advantage of the warm weather to enjoy lazy afternoons at the pool, fun-filled family camping trips, frolics at the park and other outdoor adventures. However, parents should also take heed of a danger lurking above.
To kick off summer, today is designated “Don’t Fry Day” by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention! The day, scheduled on the Friday before Memorial Day hopes to help reduce rising rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the UV rays. The council encourages sun safety awareness and reminds everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:
- Do Not Burn or Tan
- Seek Shade
- Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
- Generously Apply Sunscreen
- Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
- Get Vitamin D Safely
The summer sun can pose a special risk to babies and young children. Medical professionals urge parents to pay careful attention to sun safety to protect their family now from sunburns and skin cancer later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to protect children from the sun:
- Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, umbrella or the stroller canopy.
- When possible, dress yourself and your kids in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, like lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats.
- Select clothes made of a tight weave – they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better.
- Wear a hat or cap with a brim that faces forward to shield the face.
- Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
- Wear sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection (look for child-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child).
- Use sunscreen.
- Set a good example. You can be the best teacher by practicing sun protection yourself. Teach all members of your family how to protect their skin and eyes.
To learn more about summer sun safety, visit www.healthychildren.org.