How to keep preschool children safe in the Sun
While we all look forward to those long Summer days and the prospect of outdoor adventures and activities, we must also be aware of the potential risks and how we can protect preschool children against them.
Exposure to the Sun and Vitamin D is vital, but it is essential to find the right balance between getting enough Vitamin D and protecting ourselves from the Sun. When skin is exposed to the Sun, our bodies make vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones.
Every nursery child needs sun protection. The lighter someone’s natural skin colour, the less melanin it has to absorb UV rays and protect itself. The darker a person’s natural skin colour, the more melanin it has. Both dark and light-skin needs protection from UV rays because any tanning or burning causes skin damage.
Take extra care to protect babies and preschool children as their skin is much more sensitive and must always be protected. Damaged caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. It is advisable to keep out of direct sunlight and spend time in the shade between 11 am – 3 pm from March to October.
Sun cream is vital when protecting yourself against the Sun and remember you can burn even on a cloudy day. A minimum of factor 30 with a 4 star UVA protection should be used and reapplied every 2 hours as the Sun can dry it off your skin. Reapplying after swimming or exposure to water is essential even with water-resistant sun cream. Water reflects ultraviolet UV rays, increasing your exposure, and the cooling effect of the water can make you believe you are not getting burned.
Do not rely on sun cream alone to protect yourself and your children from the Sun. Suitable clothing such as hats, long sleeve tops and lite loose clothing is also advisable.
Top Tips for keeping Preschool children safe in the Sun
• Apply Sun cream liberally and frequently, always reapply after swimming or exposure to water (an adult wearing a swimming costume would apply around two tablespoons of sun cream to their exposed bodies)
• Keep out of the Sun and in the shade between 11 am- 3 pm
• Make sure your sun cream exceeded its expiry date
• Use at least Factor 30 with a minimum of a 4 star UVA rating
• Apply sun cream 30 minutes before exposure to the Sun
• Keep hydrated, drink lots of water
• Never leave children or pets in cars parked in the Sun
• Use sunglasses that offer your eyes 100% UV protection.
Most importantly, all children, including nursery school children, must be encouraged to have fun and stay safe in the Sun!