Stay safe in the sun this summer.
Remember skin can burn on overcast days and watch out for those cooling breezes!
We're hoping to bask in a gloriously sunny summer! Whether you are out enjoying Lymington's fabulous Seawater Baths, walking along the coastal path along the Solent, exploring the New Forest, or simply relaxing in the garden, it is worth reminding ourselves to be sensible with the sun.
Adults and children alike enjoy spending time outdoors in the sunshine. However, it's a well-known fact that over-exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, speed up the aging process of your skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.
The delicate skin of babies and children is particulary sensitive to UV rays. In fact, research indicates that sunburn in childhood may increase the risk of skin cancer in later life. So take special care to ensure that children are given the protection they deserve when out in the sun.
Top tips for sun safe kids
- Covering the skin with cool, loose clothing is one of the safest and least expensive ways of protecting children from the sun. Long sleeve t-shirts and hats which shade the face, neck and ears are best. Clothing made from tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, offer good protection from the sun's rays.
- Encourage children to play in the shade, particularly between the hours of 11am and 3pm when the sun's rays are most intense. Babies should be kept out of the sun: use sunshades on prams and never leave babies unattended outside as they are unable to move with the shade.
- Plan walks or other activities to avoid the midday sun. Don't be fooled by cool breezes or cloud cover, as up to 80% of the sun's rays can penetrate through light cloud and mist. Sand, water, concrete and other light surfaces also reflect UV light on the skin, increasing the risk of sunburn.
- When neither shade nor protective clothing are practical, use a high factor sunscreen on all exposed skin. However, due to the sensitive nature of their skin, children should ideally use a sunblock with a much higher sun protection factor (SPF) which blocks out as much of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays as possible. Apply sunscreen frequently and generously (following instructions), particularly after being in the water or after towelling skin dry.
- Look out for sunsuits with a high SPF in the fabric - most high street stores now stock these and they are more reasonably priced than a few years ago. Beach tents with a high SPF (40 or more) are also a good idea for keeping babies (and sleepy children) out of the sun.
- Remember, using a sunscreen does not guarantee that you will not burn. Do not use sunscreen to prolong the time children spend in the sun!
- A good way to get children (and adults!) to remember what to do in the sun is SLIP, SLOP, SLAP:
SLIP on a t-shirt
SLAP on a hat
SLOP on the sunscreen
- Sun lotion has a shelf life of about 2-3 years, but only if it hasn't been left in direct sunlight or stored at high temperatures.
- Make sure that children wear proper sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the "CE" mark (check the label or ask the manufacturer) - too much sun can damage the retina, leading to cataracts.
- Department of Health advice is for children to always use a sunscreen of SPF40 or above, and adults (unless very fair skinned) at least SPF15 . Bear in mind that most damage to your skin is done by the time you are 18.
- For more information, take a look at NHS Choices, especially How to apply sunscreen.