Photo adapted from Zanastardust
One of the most important things to think when getting Set for a Sizzling Summer is Sun Safety. While we love to bask in the glow of Mr. Golden Sun, it can be dangerous!
Cover Up Your Body
One of the best ways to avoid overexposure and burning is to cover up! One great option is UV Skinz. No worries about missed spots or under applying/ reapplying sunscreen and it doesn’t wash or wear off. Obviously, the more areas that your bathing suit covers, the less direct sunlight they are getting and the safer they are! Whatever suit you choose, make sure that it covers as much as possible without restricting their ability to maneuver, swim and play. Even though you may not feel that you are getting burned while swimming, water reflects 100% of the suns rays so it can be deadly.
What is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) vs.. SPF (Sun Protection Factor)?
SPF is used in reference to sunscreens while UPF is used for sun protective fabrics. If a person can stay in the sun for 10 minutes before getting sunburned and applies an SPF 15 sunscreen, then that person should be able to remain in the sun without getting sunburned for 150 minutes (10 minutes x SPF 15 = 150). UPF measures how much of the sun’s rays are penetrating a garment. A UPF 50 rating means that the fabric only allows 1/50th (2%) of the sun’s UV rays to pass through it and blocks out 98% of UV rays. UPF protection applies to both UVA and UVB rays.
UV Skinz Website
Cover Up Your Head and Eyes
Another important, and often neglected, area of covering up is your head and eyes. The sun can burn the eyes and cumulative exposure can lead to cataracts later in life. There are many types of UV protective glasses out there, just make sure they actually do filter out rays and are not just tinted. Hats are another important article of clothing in the summer months. A wide brimmed hat will help cover the neck, ears and face. Whatever the hat, make sure that it will stay on and that they will wear it. While I scrimp on many items, the hat that I have splurged on the past two years is made by Puffin. I like it because the material screens out rays, it’s great in or out of the water, it dries fast and it has a chin tie/cordlock that keeps it on.
Using Sunscreen Wisely
The most obvious area of sun safety is sunscreen. There are many different types out there. A ‘broad spectrum’ SPF 30 or higher, that protects against UVA ad UVB rays should be applied liberally! Make sure you reapply often (every 2.5 +/- hours), especially if swimming. Remember that it takes approx. 20 minutes for the sunscreen to be absorbed and start working so be sure that you apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure. Some insect repellants actually decrease the effectiveness of your sunscreen so be sure to use a higher SPF if combining the two. I have been blessed with two little ones with extremely sensitive skin and eczema. Some sunscreens that work fairly well for our family are Ocean Potion and Aveeno Baby. One that I have recently discovered is SmartShield and I am pretty excited about this one. It will be featured in an upcoming review as part of Set for a Sizzling Summer. Remember that babies under 6 months of age should not wear sunscreen and should avoid sun exposure entirely.
Avoid Peak Rays
The sun is generally strongest between 11am and 4pm so, if possible, avoid direct exposure at that time. Umbrellas, shade shelters, and pop up tents are all good ideas.
While this may not have anything to do with avoiding sunburn, it is an important factor in being outside in the heat. Innate Gear offers a great selection of water bottles for the whole family. Having them close at hand will encourage you to sip frequently. Fresh fruit is a great source of fluid as well. Snacking on melons, cantaloupe, peaches etc. is not only healthy but it will help keep you hydrated!
Set an Example
Little ones are impressionable and tend to do what we do rather than do what we say. Let’s make sure we’re practicing what we preach :)
- Avoid further sun exposure until healed
- Cool baths or cool cloths will help soothe and take away heat
- Aloe Vera is great for relieving pain and helping speed up the healing process. Visible Aid is an amazing product without the gooeyness of aloe vera. Visible Aid is as close to a miracle cure as they come! Great for cuts, scraps burns etc!
- Tylenol/Motrin will help if pain is severe.
- If the burn is bad or blistering, go see your doctor!
A Tip and a Giveaway!
I actually use a lip sunscreen stick for Chloe’s nose and the tips of her ears. With it’s tiny size, it is something that I am able to just have in my pocket or purse and easy/mess free to use when I just needed a little (to reapply) while out walking or at the park. Lips, noses and ears are extremely prone to burning! I have one of these Lip Potions to give away along with a package of Sun Sensors (consumer reports has a review of these here).
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Open Worldwide. Closes June 17, 2009.
Update: Later that day, this post showed up in my reader from Totally Tots. Be sure to check it out too!
Related posts: Set for a Sizzling Summer 1.0