SUMMER SUN IS COMING
We all love a sunny day. The feel-good effect of being outdoors, but did you know that Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of Melanoma (skin cancer) in the world, with nearly 65% of adults developing some sort of skin cancer before aged 70?
The sun emits harmful UV rays which, whilst they help the body to produce Vitamin D which is needed for general good health and strong bones, is also a leading cause of skin damage and cancer.
Children’s skin is more sensitive
to UV rays than adults
SO it is important to protect their skin and eyes from sun damage when the UV index is 3 or above. Recent research has shown that overexposure to UV radiation in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma later in life. The levels of UV emitted change according both to the time of day and the time of year. UV levels are usually highest between 9am and 4pm and can be just as strong on a cloudy or cool day, as a hot sunny one. UV is also very strong when it is reflected, such as off the surface of water or on snow, for example. So how to we protect our little ones from the sun at the same time as encouraging outdoor play?
Here are some simple guidelines to follow:
- In summer it is best to go to the beach or the pool in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Look for a shady spot or take an umbrella or gazebo on adventures.
- You can still get sunburned in the shade so make sure your little one is wearing protective clothing, a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses. Tightly woven fabric, such as the environmentally friendly, stretchy neoprene in a Nudo wetsuit or a rash vest helps protect the skin from the sun better than loosely woven fabrics when your little one is playing in the water or swimming. Long sleeves and a collar cover up more skin, but always make sure that your little one does not overheat
- Always use a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen on faces, hands and any other parts of the body that aren’t covered up. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go out and reapply it every 2 hours. It isn’t recommended to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months, so try to keep them out of direct sunlight if possible, use shade and cover up. Sunscreens labelled for babies or for sensitive skin are the least likely to cause skin irritation, but always test them on your little one first before you smother them in any new product.