Thinking about sun protection doesn’t stop at the end of summer. Parents need to remember that children need to be protected against exposure to dangerous UV rays as they head back to school. Sun exposure can occur during recess, physical education classes, field trips, and fall sports activities. But it is important to remember that children are also exposed to UV rays as they walk to and from school.
Sun protection has no season. Even though UVB rays will lessen during the winter months, harmful UVA rays will in full force all year long. Sun protection products should be on the back-to-school supply list because one severe childhood sunburn doubles the chance of developing melanoma and cumulative sun damage leads to skin cancer and premature aging later on.
Here are some simple sun safety tips:
• Teach children to search out shaded areas for playtime activities. The sun’s UVB rays are especially intense between 10 am and 2 pm.• In the morning, before leaving the house, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays to exposed skin. If the school permits, teach your children to reapply the sunscreen at school before they head outside for recess.
• Don’t rely only on sunscreen. baby sun protective clothing and hats with broad brims offer more protection. Have your children wear sunglasses when outside. Make sure they block 99 percent or more of UV radiation. Lead by example. Parents should be good role models and practice sun safety themselves.
It is important for children to be educated about the dangers of excessive sun exposure. Sunburn can be prevented and sun safety measures should become part of a daily regime.
For schools in the San Diego area, SunGrubbies.com offers a free sun safety class for Second Graders that includes a lively story about sun protection and two small science projects.
You can also find information on how to help your school become more sun-safe on our SunGrubbies.com website.