A recent survey shows that parents are doing a great job in providing their children with sun protection. However, there is always room for improvement. When children spend time outside, parents have several things to worry about – bumps, bruises and scrapes, bug bites, allergies, etc. On top of all of that, parents need to make sure their children follow proper sun protection measures. This is important so that children can safely enjoy time outdoors, while also developing life-long habits of incorporating measures to prevent sun damage. Thankfully, parents today understand the importance of sun safety and they are willing to consider a variety of strategies to safeguard their kids’ skin from the sun.
Sunscreen as the Top Sun Protection Strategy
In the above mentioned survey, 92% of parents that responded regarded sunscreen as important in preventing sunburns, and around 90% believe that it helps prevent skin cancer.
Studies suggest that using sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher can lower your chances of developing melanoma by up to 50%. Almost half of the surveyed participants said they used a sunscreen with an SPF of 45 or above for their kids, and nearly 1/3rd of parents believe that for children, the minimum SPF requirement is 30.
Keeping Kids Covered
Most of the parents who were surveyed revealed that in addition to sunscreen, they used other sun protection methods for their children – 2/3rd of the participants reported using long-sleeved clothing and over 71% of the parents use hats.
Clothing is one of the most effective sun protection methods. It is important to always make sure your kids wear bright or dark coloured clothes with densely woven fabrics before going outside. The better the coverage, the better the sun protection for your child. Whenever possible, choose long-sleeved shirts or tees, and long pants for your children. For additional protection of the eyes, neck and face, wide-brimmed hats and UV-protection sunglasses are recommended. If children are not comfortable with a wide-brimmed hat, they can wear a baseball cap to aid in sun safety.
Never Let Your Guard Down
Despite all the good news, there was one concerning finding in the survey. Parents were not making adequate decisions when it came to their children’s sun protection due to common misconceptions. Only 1/4 of parents surveyed said that they would consider reapplying sunscreen to their kids on a cloudy day, and only 1/5th would think of reapplying it if their kids were in a shaded area. When assessing whether or not sun protection was required for their children, respondents took the following factors into consideration:
- The time their kids were spending outside (74%)
- The type of clothing their kids were wearing (66%)
- The children’s skin tone or colour (62%)
- The weather (57%)
- Whether they are near water or not (62%)
Skincare professionals and skin cancer physicians recommend that parents use sun protection for their children every day regardless of the child’s skin tone, weather conditions, and the activity they are participating in. You children should wear sunscreen and a hat if they are going outside even for a short period of time. Having a darker skin colour may help a bit with regard to UV protection, but it must be understood that regardless of skin colour, everyone is at risk of skin damage or cancer. Kids from all ethnicities and races need comprehensive sun protection.
It’s important to mention that clouds can block the bulk of UVB rays, but they can not filter UVA rays. UVA rays account for almost 95% of the UV rays that reach the earth. In other words, even in winter or on a cloudy, rainy day kids are very much exposed to UV radiation. Likewise, shade doesn’t offer complete sun protection, due to the fact that surfaces like water, concrete, sand, and glass reflect UV rays.
Parents are now more careful and conscious about children’s sun protection to avoid sun damage than ever before. Having said that, there are still things that parents can add to their children’s sun safety routine. The key is to educate ourselves, and understand that sun protection is not only needed under certain circumstances – It is important every day.