Take a moment this May to learn some preventive steps to lessen your child’s chances of developing Skin Cancer later in life.
Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Every day 9,500 people will be diagnosed with Skin Cancer, and on average one American per hour will die from Melanoma, the most fatal form. Most Skin Cancer is caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays found in natural sunlight and in indoor tanning beds. Children are more likely to experience exposure that will cause cancer later in life due to outdoors activities and sun exposure. Just one or two bad sunburns early in life can increase chances of developing Skin Cancer as adults. Like you, children need sun protection every time they are outdoors.
Below are some tips to protect your children from UVA and UVB damage:
- Seek shade
UV rays are most harmful during the sun’s peak time, about mid-day. If it is not possible to play indoors during this time, choose a play area with plenty of shade and bring an umbrella or utilize a variety of pop-up tents and canopies.
- Cover exposed skin
When possible wear long sleeves and pants. Clothing that is made from tightly woven material in darker colors will offer the best protection from UV rays, and remember, a dry shirt will protect you better than a wet shirt.
- Wear a Hat
A hat with a wide brim that goes all the way around is the best option for protecting your child’s head, ears, face and neck. If they choose to wear a hat closer to a baseball cap make sure to apply sunscreen to the exposed skin.
Children should wear sunglasses that cover their eyes, even the sides, and they should block as close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays as possible.
- Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
A sunscreen with at least SPF15 and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection should be applied every time your child goes outside. For best results, apply up to 30 minutes in advance and reapply every couple of hours, especially if your child is in water or sweating.
It is a common misconception that children do not need sun protection during cool and cloudy days. The clouds don’t block the UV rays; they only provide a slight filter.
Plan ahead and don’t forget to take your sun protection with you in your bag, car, or child’s backpack to reapply.