Avoid Sunburn and the Risk of Skin Cancer

The burning issue every summer is finding ways to protect our skin from the damaging rays of the sun. In a nutshell this means you need to avoid sunburn.

A spokesman from the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa (CAPFSA) warns that our children are at particular risk. She says particular care should be taken to protect the skin of babies and children outdoors. “The sun is not the kind friend our parents thought it was. Today, it’s not just sunburn we need to worry about but also the increased risk of skin cancer tomorrow. A young child’s skin will receive enough sunlight to cause burning after only a few minutes exposure.”

Although most of us realise we have to take extra precautions during hot summer days, CAPFSA warns us to remember that damage may be caused to the skin even on a mild sunny day. A baby’s skin is very delicate and can burn easily, and it is always best to avoid allowing children in the sun in the middle of the day.

Keep Out of Harm

Kids splashing in the swimming pool
Fun in the sun. Children will spend many hours splashing and swimming in the pool so take care to ensure that their skin is well protected with a good quality sunscreen products.

The first line of defence for young babies is to keep them out of the sun altogether. Always keep your baby in the shade and use hats, umbrellas and covered prams. Always protect their sensitive skins with sunscreen formulated specially for babies.

Get a Head Start

Wearing a sun hat is vital especially for children playing in the sun. Hats need to be wide rimmed to keep the sun off the face as well as the back of the neck – a vital area which is often forgotten. Once children are active you need a hat that will stay on their heads and is comfortable to wear.

Sunscreens

Choose a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (15 plus) and check that it offers both UVA and UVB protection. Ensure that areas such as lips and nose are properly covered as well as the back of the neck, legs and feet. Use zinc cream for total block-out on your child’s nose or other small areas. Apply sunscreen on your child before going out in the sun and re-apply regularly (preferably 20 minutes before going outdoors to allow for proper absorption). Always use water-resistant sunscreens when your child is going to be swimming.

Sun Safe Tips

  • Keep children out of the sun between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at it’s strongest.
  • Make maximum use of the shade.
  • Wear a tee-shirt when on the beach or at the pool.
  • Always wear a hat.
  • Cover any exposed parts of the face and body with sunscreen.
  • Protect eyes with sunglasses.

Article originally published in NSPI Swimming Pools & Spas

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