Family vacations, lazy pool days, outdoor barbecues. During the summer, it’s easy for parents to be on sunscreen patrol. Now, students who hit the beach are getting ready to hit the books. But that doesn’t mean the sunscreen should be shelved!
Data suggests that the majority of sun exposure in a person’s life occurs before the age of 18. From school recess to after school play dates, it’s important to give your kids a lesson in year-round sun safety. Break out your number two pencil! Here are some tips for preventing sunburn today and sun damage tomorrow.…courtesy of Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, Director of Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt and Beth Israel Medical Centers in New York City.
1. Buy empty lotion bottles (travel size) and fill them with sunscreen to pack in your child's backpack. That way it is easy to transport and easy for you to monitor their use. Tell your child to apply sunscreen before recess, sports and outside, after-school playdates.
2. Encourage wearing a hat. Though most children are resistant to wearing a broad-brimmed hat, baseball caps are better than nothing. Just remind your child to put sunscreen on their ears and the back of their neck!
3. Don't forget sunglasses. Beyond a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your child's eyes from harmful UV rays
4. If your children play sports, pack water-proof spray-on sunscreen in their backpack. Make sure you tell them to spray it on while getting ready for practice or the big game (30 minutes before sun exposure). The spray version is easy to apply and they don't have to feel shy about asking a team mate to help them out.
5. Consider washing your child's practice clothes and uniforms with Rit Sunguard. Available on-line and in most grocery stores, the easy to use powder can be washed in with clothes in the laundry and confers added SPF to t-shirts, shorts and socks - good for multiple washes.
6. Consider UV SunSense Bands – they are wristbands that change color when sunscreen needs to be reapplied. The child wears the wristband and puts sunscreen on the band and on themselves at the same time. When the band turns color, it means it’s time to reapply.
7. If your child plays after-school sports, designate a "sunscreen parent." Just like the "snack parent" who provides nourishment to keep the kids on the field, the "sunscreen parent" can keep them safe and free from sunburns. Making this part of the sport environment creates healthy habits early on.