Safe Time in the Sunshine
In today’s world, people have a love-hate relationship with the sun. It is an important source of Vitamin D, critical to overall mental wellness, and is the key source of life in beautiful flowers and nutritious fruits and vegetables. For children, spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine is an important part of mental and physical development. However, too much exposure can cause sunburns and skin damage that can have long-term negative effects for people. If left outside for too long, children rarely monitor their intake of food and water, and can get dehydrated quickly. Finding the proper balance of sunshine is an important part of a happy childhood and long-term well-being.
Here are 4 tips for safe time in the sunshine all year long (and be sure to download our Sun Safety chart below for more tips!):
- Proper outerwear is key. One of the best ways to protect kids from too much sun exposure is with clothing. While it can be easy during winter or in cold environments to layer up, when it is hot, it can be harder. Lightweight, long sleeve shirts and pants can protect the skin from excessive sun exposure. Hats and sunglasses are also important. Fabrics like cotton and linen are going to be the most breathable. When in shorts, shirts with smaller sleeves, and swimsuits, remembering to find shade and rest for a few minutes every hour will also be beneficial to preventing sun burns.
- Stay hydrated! The skin needs water just as much as the rest of the body. It is more resilient and repairs itself better when hydrated. Preventing dehydration can also deter headaches and heat injury. A hydrated body is a healthy body. Because children are not as aware of the signals their bodies send them, it is important for an adult to monitor their intake.
- Know your family history. Some families are at greater risk of problems due to long-term sun damage than others. Knowing the risk factors is important. Some families can spend lots of time outside without sunscreen and they don’t burn and have low-risk of long-term damage or health complications. Others can be very careful but have multiple family members who have experienced health problems due to sun exposure. Being aware of familial limitations can help a parent or guardian understand how to balance their children’s sun time. It can also build good habits within each kid for lifelong wellness.
- Do your research about which sunscreens will be best for you and your family. Sunscreen can be a great option for people who need a little more protection or spend a little more time in the sun than the average person. Studying the ingredients can be important in case some people have sensitive skin, or are going to be around water, which reflects sun rays and can increase the amount of UVA/UVB rays to which someone is exposed. Some people prefer natural or mineral sunscreen over chemical ones. Knowing which ingredients you are comfortable with for your family, and finding a good sunscreen to use consistently are important parts of long-term skin maintenance. Some of the best family and childhood memories can be made when the sun is high in the sky, so having good skin care allows for good times, and long-term wellness for decades to come.