Summer offers a diverse range of exciting summer programs and outdoor activities that provide fresh air and fun. But with summer comes elevated exposure to UV rays that children are vulnerable to. For parents with a young child, the guide below will help answer your questions about summer sun safety.
How to Keep Your Children Safe in the Sun
Is sunscreen safe for infants?
The younger your child is, the more sensitive their skin will be to sunlight and chemicals. Don’t use sunscreen for children who are under six months old.
For protection, use shade, hats, and lightweight clothes to cover their skin.
Schedule walks before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays aren’t as intense.
What should I look for in a sunscreen?
Sunscreen comes in different forms, including sprays, sticks, creams, lotions, and gels—all of which provide adequate protection. Use a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher. If your child’s skin usually reddens after 20 minutes in the sun without protection, SPF 30 products will multiply that number by 30. This means that the sunscreen will protect them for 600 minutes (10 hours). However, if your child is playing in the water, reapply sunscreen every two hours.
How do sunburns happen?
Sunlight contains UVA and UVB rays, which will damage the skin. The skin produces melanin to protect against these rays. However, when the exposure is greater than the amount of melanin protection, damage to the skin occurs, causing tanning and sunburns.
While those with darker skin have more melanin, they’re still at risk for skin damage and should take the same precautions to prevent it.
How do I treat sunburns?
Gently apply a wet, cool compress and aloe vera to the sunburned areas, which will ease the heat and pain. If the pain is substantial, use non-aspirin anti-inflammatories. Moisturizers will rehydrate the skin and relieve itching.
Keep your child out of the sun as much as possible until the sunburn fades. Reach out to your doctor if blisters develop.
Are there other ways to protect my child?
If you’re working through the season, look for summer programs that have a variety of indoor activities to keep your child’s mind and body active while also keeping them safe.
While out during the day, children over six months should wear wraparound sunglasses that offer 99% UVA and UVB protection.
Some clothes have a 30 SPF rating to protect against UV rays.
Summer is both a time for a play and an opportunity to develop your child’s learning abilities. Licensed in the state and accredited nationally by NAEYC’s National Academy of Early Childhood, Northwest Children's Center nurtures creativity and social skills in a safe environment. Children will interact with others and keep their minds active with language, math, and science lessons. For more information on their summer programs for infant toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, visit their website. If you’re in the Cromwell, CT, area and want to schedule a visit, call (860) 635-3485.