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Keep your child safe in the sunrays

What to consider when using sunscreen and appropriate clothing to protect your child from harmful sun rays.

Photo Courtesy of DayStar.
What to consider when using sunscreen and appropriate clothing to protect your child from harmful sun rays. Photo Courtesy of DayStar.

Keeping your child safe from harmful sun rays is important during hot weather if both want to enjoy the summer. This article discusses what to consider when using sunscreen and appropriate clothing to protect your child.

Fifty percent of the total exposure of a person's life in the sun occurs in childhood, so it is important to take precautions when your child is away from home this summer. Protect your child against harmful rays of the sun not only protect you against sunburn, but will reduce your chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Some measures are obvious and easy to take, such as ensuring your child wears a hat and protective clothing and away from the sun when its rays are strongest (10 am-4 pm). One way to determine if one seeks the shade is to use the shadow rule: if a person's shadow is shorter than its actual height, then the intensity of the sun's rays can cause sunburn.

While these steps are simple and require nothing more than a common approach to sun protection when it comes to sun protection is perhaps not so easy. Many people believe that the use of sunscreen allows an increase in time spent in the sun without risk of sunburn. However, no sunscreen offers complete protection from harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays, and sunscreen should never be used to increase the time it can happen in intense sunlight, and should never be used in place of protective clothing. Remember that babies under six months of age should be kept out of the sun at all times and clothing and shading to protect them instead of sunscreen.

When selecting a sunscreen, dermatologists recommend a product with sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or higher. While you may believe that the higher the number the more protection provided SFP, some experts believe that the protection factor must be limited to 30 because it does not provide any real protection beyond that figure. Therefore, if you buy a product designed specifically for children, you may want to focus more on whether it is water resistant, unscented or hypoallergenic. Sunscreen that provides "broad spectrum" protection means protecting against UVB and UVA rays (UVA rays are associated with problems such as rashes and adverse reactions to drugs). To be sure that sunscreen actually provides protection eyes wide spectrum of ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Renowned brands offering friendly sun protection for children include Banana Boat, Coppertone and Neutrogena.

If you prefer to rely on clothing to protect your child, then tightly woven fabrics in dark colors provide better protection against the sun, though probably not the most comfortable clothes to be worn on a hot day. Garments like cotton shirts provide relatively little protection as the sun's rays are able to pass through the loops in the construction of woven fabric. But that does not mean your child has to suffer through the summer in dark clothes and heavy, like a number of companies now make clothing that provides protection from the sun, blocking some products over 97, 5 percent of UVA and UVB rays. A UPF rating of 40 and 50 are said to provide excellent UV protection.

Knowing that your child is protected against the sun, where you are and what you are doing will help you enjoy a happy and carefree summer, which in turn means that does too.


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