SunSafe: A How to Guide For Your Kid
It’s summertime, and your child wants to play in the scorching sun. It is a parent’s dilemma whether to allow your child to play or to protect him or her from the harmful rays of the sun. While Vitamin D is essential for the bone and muscle health, long exposure to sun can also cause sunburn, damage to the skin and in some cases, even skin cancer.
So, Who is at more risk from exposure to the sun?
While sun is a great source of Vitamin D, you also need to protect your kid against exposure for an extended period.
- Children who have light skin are more prone to getting skin cancer. For them, sunscreen is a must, and a sun protection routine is recommended.
- Children with darker skin are in comparison less likely to get sun burn or a serious disease such as skin cancer. According to an article published by Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, children with darker skin take up to six times more time to make Vitamin D than children with lighter skin.
The next question to ask would be, How can you protect your child from the UV rays while exposing them to the right amount of Vitamin D?
Here are a few ways you can strike that balance.
- When stepping out in the sun, make sure that your child is wearing clothes that doesn’t expose their skin.
- Sunscreen is a must for protection against the sun. Ideally, you should apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before your child steps out in the sun. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, measures to protect against the sun are recommended when the UV index is 3 or higher.
- You can also alternatively choose a time when there is a little respite from the sun. Playing in areas where there is more shade can be helpful and prevent your child from getting directly exposed to the sun.
- Sunshades are a necessary accessory for protection from the UV radiation.
- Hydration from time to time is important. Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Your child will learn what they see. To inculcate a routine, you should follow a routine too, every time you step out.
Some of the additional measures that you can follow to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun are:
- As parents, it is essential to educate your children about the risks involved in increased exposure to the sun.
- To ensure that your child doesn’t suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, exposure of 5 at least five minutes to the sun is recommended. However, relying on only sunlight to make up for Vitamin D in the body is not sufficient. Additional supplements should be given in the form of dietary sources.
- Make sure that your child isn’t exposed to excess sunlight, and you adhere to the minimum time limit to exposure to the sun.
- Counselling for photo protection should be made a priority and encouraged to create awareness about the various measures one can take to keep their child protected from any unwanted exposure.