Sun exposure is important for everyone in the family but so is summer sun safety! Sunlight is essential in getting your essential daily amount of vitamin D. It doesn’t take very much time in the sun each day to get what is needed, though. 15 minutes of daily sun exposure is plenty to get the vitamin D you need to help you better absorb calcium for stronger bones.
Even though everyone needs some sun exposure, it is important to be careful about exposing yourself and your family to too much sun.
There are three main types of ultraviolet rays contained in sunlight:
- UVA: these rays cause wrinkles and aging of the skin and also contribute to skin cancer. UVA rays make up the majority of our sun exposure.
- UVB: also dangerous rays, these kind cause sunburns and cataracts and also contribute to skin cancer. Most skin cancer cases come from severe sunburns before the age of 20.
- UVC: these rays are the most dangerous of all, but they are blocked by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth at all.
Finding the right balance between healthy sun exposure and heat stroke, sunburns and dehydration is important to your family’s health.
Summer Sun Safety Tips:
Stay Out of the Sun when Rays are Strongest
The sun is highest overhead and strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. When your family is going to be outside for more than 15 minutes during these peak hours, make sure that you apply a protective sunscreen. There are plenty of environmentally friendly sunscreens out there, which protect your skin without chemicals. Even on days that are overcast or cloudy, the harmful UVA and UVB rays aren’t filtered out by the clouds and can cause skin damage.
Cover up When out in the Sun
Covering up with adequate clothing and using a wide brimmed hat or an umbrella in the sun are also effective in protecting you and your families’ skin. To test whether or not your kids clothing will protect them, hold your hand underneath their clothes to see if you can see through them. If you can’t see through the garments, they will protect the skin from sunburn.
Sun Safety for Babies Under 6 Months
Babies younger than 6 months should not have sunscreen on their sensitive skin. To prevent babies from being sunburned, make sure that you put a hat on their head with a brim to cover their face and neck, and dress them in clothing that covers their arms and legs if it is not too hot outside. If it is hot, put infants under an umbrella.
Sun Safety for Older Children
The best defense you have against the rays of the sun is to cover up with a hat, sunglasses and light clothing. Stay in the shade when you are out during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make sure you purchase sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and apply it so it covers all the exposed skin. Don’t try to make a bottle of sunscreen last longer, make sure you apply enough to cover all of the skin. If your kids will be swimming, make sure to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours.