Thursday, December 17, 2009
Safe Sun Fun
When heading outside with your youngsters, don't forget a few simple steps. Your skin ages most from the sun, and these days everyone needs to be protected, children especially. It is not recommended that babies under six months of age get more than a few minutes sun exposure or wear sunscreen. It is best to consult a doctor if you plan on spending any large amount of time at a pool or the beach with infants.
Firstly, Sun safety.
It is best to avoid being in the sun between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. This is when the sun's rays are the strongest, and the ambient temperature is the hottest, so go inside, have some lunch, and hang out!
A sunburn a child gets now can be the one to cause skin cancer when he/she becomes an adult. Take every precaution to ensure your children are fully protected. Hats and opaque clothing can be a big help, but snscreen is very important. When you go to buy sunscreen, read the ingredient list to insure these ingredients show up in some form, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. These three ingredients can offer protection from 80%-90% of UVA radiation. The least irritating sunscreen ingredients will be titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are a bit harder to rub in because they have more white pigment, but your chldren won't complain as much if the sunscreen gets in their eyes. Always make sure the SPF rating is at least 15 or higher. The letters "SPF" stand for Sun Protection Factor, and the number rating tells you how much longer your child can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. So if your child normally burns after 20 minutes and you put on a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15, this sunscreen will give you 15 times the protection - 20 minutes times SPF 15 equals 300 minutes, so your child should be protected for 5 hours. However, you should still re-apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, just to be safe.
Don't forget that your childs eyes need protection from UV rays, as well. Always provide sunglasses for your children if they are going to be in the bright sun, and make sure they have a label saying that they block UV rays.
Also remember, when swimming or boating, the sun can do double the damage, because the water reflects and intensifies the sun's rays. So if your child is going to be in the water, be sure to wear a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher. Always reapply sunscreen after swimming, even if it's waterproof.
Secondly, Drink up!!
Drinking water is an important part of everyone's health, especially when it's hot outside. When sweating, you lose water that your body needs to work properly. And if you're playing a sport or running around in the sun, you lose even more water, because you sweat that much more.
So make sure your children drink up! And don't forget yourself. Don't wait until they are thirsty - drinking before thirsty replaces the water their body needs. If they say they are suddenly feeling thirsty, make sure they start drinking right away. There are lots of cool-looking water bottles around, let them pick a favorite, fill it up, and make sure they drink up!
Thirdly, Feeling Too Hot?
If the sun is very hot one day and you're running around a lot, it can sometimes cause heat exhaustion. Kids get heat exhaustion when their hearts and circulatory systems can't cool their bodies fast enough. Heat exhaustion can be scary because it comes on very suddenly. It usually isn't too dangerous, but it can leave a person feeling really tired for days after it happens.
How can you tell if you may be getting heat exhaustion? Your child may feel dizzy and nauseated, or really weak. They might sweat a lot, have cool and clammy skin, stomach cramps, or a headache. If they ever feel this way, get them out of the sun right away! Then they'll need to rest and drink lots of fluids.
Even scarier than heat exhaustion is heat stroke. Heat stroke is a life-threatening, because the body system regulateing temperature shuts down from too much heat. A person with heat stroke won't be sweating at all. He or she will have hot, red skin and a really high temperature. Eventually, somebody with heat stroke will become uncoordinated, confused, and may even lose consciousness. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous, so quick action is vital. Remove the child from the sun immediately and seek medical assistance.
Follow these simple tips for safe fun in the summer sun...enjoy!