Buying the right sun protection for your children is of course of the up most importance for all of us parents – me included.
But are we putting them in the right sun protective sun wear and are we using the right sunscreens?
Do you use the same sunscreen from the year before and wonder why you get the white patches or red streaks on your body and think that you have just missed a spot?
Are they actually being protected from the harsh UVR rays, the ultraviolet A and B rays – that is UVA and UVB rays that cause the damage. The UVC rays do not penetrate the atmosphere’s ozone layer so does not reach the earth’s surface.
Do you think the garment your child has been wearing for the last couple of years is still protecting them from sun damage??…..if you are not sure read on.
We all know the basics of protecting ourselves like avoiding the sun between 11am to 3pm, wearing a hat, glasses, applying sunscreen liberally and frequently and checking any spots that look suspicious so I’m not going to talk about these points just some other pointers that you may not have thought about.
Do you think about the Features & Benefits of swim wear before you invest your money.
Here are 7 things parents should know about their Child’s Sun Protection to avoid skin cancer and sun damage now and in the latter years
1 - Wearing a T-shirt or other types of everyday clothing will not protect your child or anyone from the damage that the sun can cause so when you go outside for any length of time please don’t think that this is going to cut it especially if you are using every day clothing as a source of sun protection. While a T-shirt may prevent from burning (UVB rays), it will not prevent you from the absorption from UVA rays which over time, dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer. Everyday clothing may offer only a UPF of 5 and 50% less once wet.
2 - Do you know how to check that the sunscreen you are using is not out of date and therefore useless. Sunscreens have a shelf life of more than two and a half years so manufacturers do not have to specify an expiry date and are not by law obliged to do so….. but does this mean our sunscreen is still ok after one season? The consistency of your sunscreen can be quite different depending on what type you use but if you open your tube and it runs out quite freely (meaning it has separated) then throw it away. That is the reason you get patches of white or red streaks over your skin and think that you have just missed putting the sunscreen on that part of your body. This also means your tube of sunscreen is full of bacteria as the ingredients in the containers do eventually break down.
3 - Keep your sunscreen in the fridge or a shady spot when you are out and about. Why not put it into your esky or cool box where you keep your food and drinks cool, that way it will help to stop your sunscreen breaking down plus it will feel nice and cool to put on.
4 - Don’t be afraid that your child is not getting enough Vitamin D. There has been a lot of speculation around this topic but what people do not realise is that if you are not getting enough Vitamin D it may not be just because of the sun. In theory you should get enough by going out for a few minutes each day in the early morning and evening sun and there are plenty of times when we are going to and from the car, shops etc where we can catch a few rays. You’ve heard the term “you are what you eat” well these days it really should be “you are what you absorb” as sometimes we are not absorbing the Vitamin D necessary for optimum health but that is another whole topic in itself but one worth exploring.
5 - One thing I think a lot us parents do not realise is that after one season our children’s sun protective garments start to break down even though they may not seem to appear that way to the naked eye. However they do unless you are wearing a very good quality garment and I am here to tell you that the market is swamped with some very cheap and nasty sun protection swimwear. The best sun protection swimwear is one that has a UPF50+ and one that still holds the same UPF50+ when the fabric is wet something us parents would not have thought of. Most important of all you want to buy a garment that contains no LYCRA. This not only gives great features and benefits in its own right but the material will not break down even after several years. The garments we use contain NO LYCRA and the tight weave of the quality Italian fabric we use is how the UPF50+ rating is achieved. Also no chemicals are added which is terrific for children with sensitivities.
6 - Other facts: If you can see the sky, it means the UVR (UVA, UVB) rays can still penetrate the shaded areas so you need to be under a well shaded area (so be careful with beach tents). Other surfaces that reflect the sun are the water, the sand (25%), white paint, light coloured concrete, snow and of course 90% of the sun can penetrate through the clouds. Just because we cannot feel the heat of the sun, the UVR rays do penetrate through and that is often where we get caught out.
7 - The last point I really want to mention is that there is also much controversy over the safety of sunscreens and I personally buy the brands with the main ingredient you need to protect yourself from getting sunburn and sun damage and that is zinc oxide, the rest of the ingredients for me, need to be as safe as possible and most often they are not.Some of the ingredients are very questionable but naturally as parents we would rather use sunscreen than not as we don’t want to burn the skin of our precious children. Lets face it too, there are many people, babies, children and adults who cannot even tolerate sunscreen due to sensitivities but still want to enjoy activities that require you to be in the sun.
So is there a better way to protect our children from the sun and the answer to that is …yes there is.
If you think you cannot avoid the sun during those crucial hours 11am to 3pm and you have an active family who plays sports or who just enjoy water activities in general like my family, if you don’t like putting on sunscreen all the time, and you just want to enjoy the sun in general then there are some very sun smart choices you can make.
Wear quality protective swimwear with no LYCRA that covers as much of the body as possible that has a UPF50+ when dry OR wet.
This is where you could use a full sun suit known as a stinger suit to protect your children. We love using these for our children and you can read one of our posts on this fantastic suit that ticks all the boxes and gives you as a parent peace of mind that you are protecting your child and saving yourself a great deal of money in the long run (think of all the savings on not having to buy a new rash or sun suit every year, not to mention all the sunscreen you will save).
Normally I would say don’t pass down a swimsuit to a younger sibling because it probably has lost most of its UV Protection in the breaking down of the material but with good quality garments it is wise and sun smart to buy a unisex colour so that you can pass it down to younger siblings with absolute confidence.
I hope you have enjoyed this post please contact us if you have any questions or phone Julie on:
Mobile: (61) 401 823 084