May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, a perfect time to talk to your kids about sun safety. Check out these sunburn and skin cancer preventive tips recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the Skin Cancer Foundation.
1. Minimize exposure to the sun at midday – between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Apply sunscreen, with at least a SPF-15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, to all areas of your child’s (older than 6 months of age) body that are exposed to the sun.
3. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or perspiring.
4. Make sure your child wears clothing that covers the body and shades the face. Hats should provide shade for both the face and back of the neck. Wearing sunglasses will reduce the amount of rays reaching the eye by filtering as much as 80 percent of the rays, and protecting the lids of the eyes, as well as the lens.
5. Avoid exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps or tanning parlors.
6. Protect children from excessive sun exposure when the sun is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.), and apply sunscreen liberally and frequently to children 6 months of age and older.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approves of the use of sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months old if adequate clothing and shade are not available. Parents should still try to avoid sun exposure and dress the infant in lightweight clothing that covers most surface areas of skin. However, parents also may apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to the infant’s face and back of the hands.
Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under the umbrella. Snow is a particularly good reflector of UV rays. Reflective surfaces can reflect up to 85 percent of the damaging sun rays.
For more information, check out the CHOC Health Library on choc.org at http://www.choc.org/healthlibrary/topic.cfm?PageID=P01922
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