Monday, June 17, 2013

Fun in the Sun - Sun Protection Strategies

Kids are out. The sun is shining. It's time to play. But are your kids sun safe? With summer now in full swing, it's time to start practicing and teaching kids about sun safety. Sunburns, heat stroke and melanoma can easily be prevented by following these guidelines suggested by Linda Ebner Erceg, R.N., M.S., P.H.N., executive director of the Association of Camp Nurses.

                                                                     Photo by: Mission Explore

  • Stay hydrated. Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water during and in between activities.

  • Children should wear sunscreen for minimum protection. Most experts recommend SPF 30, however some professionals do recommend using SPF with minimum coverage of 45.

  • Provide your child with clothing options that protect from harmful rays:
    • Wear a hat with at least a four-inch brim that circles the head or a flap that covers the neck.
    • Use UV-rated sunglasses. Overexposure to UV rays may cause glaucoma.
    • Remind your child to put sunscreen on his or her torso, too!

  • Cloudy days are not exempt. Families should remember to wear sunscreen and take precautions even when the sun isn't shining brightly.

  • Learn to recognize the signs of melanoma by using this ABCD Watch:
    • Asymmetry — if folded in half, the skin mark doesn't match or is unequal in shape.
    • Border — the area has a scalloped or poorly circumscribed border.
    • Color Varies — the area has changed color or varies from one area to another. There may be shades of brown and black, or even red or blue.
    • Diameter — the area is larger than six millimeters (larger than the diameter of a pencil's eraser).

                                                                            Photo by: Mike Baird

Foster excitement in kids to stay sun safe by making it into a game or a fun adventure. Kids will want to take part when they view it as something exciting. Challenge kids to see if they can beat the record for how fast they put their sunblock on. Use your imagination by explaining to them that their sunblock is actually a magical potion that will make them invisible. Most importantly, be an example by staying sun safe yourself.

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