Be Sun-Savvy: 5 Tips for Family Sun Protection

Written by Yuki Hayashi

(2 min read)

With the bloom of magnolia trees it’s hard to imagine we were wearing three layers just a few months ago. Now that we’re finally basking in warm springtime temps, it’s time to get sun savvy. As spring segues into summer, the great outdoors beckon. Here are 5 ways to heed nature’s siren song – safely.

1. Combine sun protection methods

Protect your family by combining and reinforcing sun protection methods whenever possible. Avoid the sun’s rays when they are at their harshest. Always use sunscreen. Block more of the sun’s rays with sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.

2. Avoid peak-sun hours

The sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Plan your outdoor activities outside these hours. Fortunately, peak sun seems to coincide with nap time for many little ones – tired parents, too!

3. Know the signs of sun overexposure

Kids can have so much fun outdoors that they get too much of a good thing. Bring an umbrella or canopy to the beach to provide shade, or head to a tree-shaded playground instead of a fully exposed one. Signs of sun overexposure include sunburn, blisters, shivering and fever. Consult a healthcare practitioner if you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms. 

4. Be generous with the sunscreen

Teach your kids that sunscreen use is mandatory – even if it’s cloudy or overcast (UV rays penetrate cloud cover). Sunscreen protects against sunburns, as well as sun-related skin changes like wrinkles (okay, that may be more motivating to you than your kids!). Sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours, especially if you/your kids get wet or sweaty. 

5. Get kids invested in sunscreen

Kids are more likely to slather on sunscreen if they like it. When choosing a sunscreen, look for a full-spectrum formula that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 30 or higher. Offer your kids options that meet that criteria, then let them pick the spray, spritz, cream, or mousse formula they like best. 

You’d be surprised how much a scent or texture can throw someone off a product. Adults often have sunscreen preferences, so it’s not surprising kids would too!

Join the conversation:  What’s your family’s fave spring/summer outdoor activity?

Read on:  Get more sun protection tips from SickKids.

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