Rain showers, blooming flowers, end-of-school-year fun: these are some of the things that might come to mind when you think of spring. But did you know that sun protection should be in that list as well? It’s easy to think that kids (and adults, for that matter) only need to practice sun protection in the summer, but the sun’s rays can be just as damaging in the spring and fall months, even on cool or cloudy days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it only takes a few sunburns to increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Start making skin protection a family habit by implementing these simple steps.
The CDC recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. In regards to which brand to use, formulas with zinc oxide offer the safest source of protection, but finding a brand that doesn’t irritate your child’s skin is key. Reapply as needed throughout the day, especially after swimming or sweating. As for how you’d like to apply it–lotion, spray, or even stick–choose what works best for your family. We parents all know that wrangling small children to apply sunscreen can feel akin to wrestling an alligator. Don’t lose heart: protecting that delicate skin is well worth the struggle.
SPF Clothing and Hats
Even after applying sunscreen, it’s a good idea to grab a hat (preferably one that shades your child’s face and covers the neck and ears) for a day spent outdoors. Companies like SwimZip and Coolibar offer kids clothing and swimwear with SPF for an added layer of protection. The pieces are cute to boot!
Protecting your child’s eyes is just as important as protecting their skin, especially if your little ones are not fond of wearing hats. Shop for glasses that block as close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays as possible.
Remember that the sun’s rays are most powerful midday. Try to plan your outdoor activities in the morning or later in the afternoon is possible, or escape the rays in a shady spot. Feeling overwhelmed with keeping track of the sunscreen, hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses? Designate a tote bag for all your sun essentials and store it in a spot where it’s easy to grab on your way out the door.
Stay safe, and have a fun spring!