The dog days of summer are here and your kids are soaking up the sun before school starts again. But are they prepared? One blistering sunburn in your child’s life can double your child’s lifetime risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Are you making sure that you are taking all the necessary precautions for your child’s health?
Sun Safety Acronyms You Need to Know
UVA- Ultraviolet A sun rays make the skin tan. This however, does not mean that a tan is healthier than a burn. UVA rays are 30-50 times more prevalent than UVB. They also penetrate deeper into skin cells. These rays damage the skin just as UVB rays do.
UVB- Ultraviolet B rays cause the skin to burn. These rays have received flack over past years for being the most dangerous. However, recent research shows that UVA rays are equally as damaging. However, this should not cause the perception of UVB rays to be anything less than what they are, dangerous for unprotected skin.
SPF- Sun protection factor is a measurement of how effective sunscreen is at preventing sunburn. If your child experiences red skin within 10 minutes without sunscreen, then the SPF number is the factor multiplied by those minutes. So if your child uses SPF 15 sunscreen they will be protected from sunburn for about 150 minutes. The following SPF classifications block these percentages of UVB rays, SPF 15- 93%, SPF 30- 97%, SPF 50+- 98%
Child Sun Safety Tips
Keeping your child safe from sun damage can seem like a never ending and complicated process. However, if you keep these sun safety tips in mind and use some of them on a regular basis you should be able to significantly decrease sun damage to your child’s skin.
Wear sunscreen and protection even on cloudy days as 80% of UV rays penetrate clouds
When possible try to keep your child out of the sun during the most intense part of the day 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wear tight knit clothing with few voids to make sure it is adequately protecting sun rays
Have your child wear sunglasses that protect close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays, wearing sunglasses early in life can prevent cataracts when your child is older
Don’t forget sunscreen application to the face, top of feet, hands and ears
Get your child a hat that they like to protect the scalp, face and neck
There is more information available about child sun safety and protection on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. Sun protection is an important part of the prevention of health problems for your child later on down the road. If your child has experienced severe sunburn or sun damage, take them to see a pediatrician or dermatologist.
At Kids First Pediatrics, we can help treat your child’s severely sun-damaged skin and we can refer your child to a dermatologist for further treatment or diagnosis. For more information about our pediatric services, contact us at our Raleigh, NC office.