Sun Safety for Kids on the Playground
Sunny summer days are the kind of thing that kids dream about all year long; the perfect time to get out and play. However, too much sun can be a dangerous thing. Not only can the excessive heat cause serious immediate problems like dehydration or heat stroke, there are also long-term risks, including permanent skin damage, which can come from too much exposure to sun radiation. These helpful tips should provide some useful information about how you can beat the heat and keep your kids safe.
This is key! The most important thing to remember when out in the sun is to drink plenty of water. Of course cool water is an important way to prevent overheating, but it also helps the body in other ways. During hot days especially, large amounts of water exit the body through the pores as sweat. Tiny sweat droplets may not seem like much water, but they can certainly add up over time. This water needs to be replenished by drinking plenty of water. Soda doesn't cut it!
Remembering to put on sunscreen can be a real pain, but not as much as the sunburn that you'll get if you don't. It's the only proven way to stay out in the sun without the risk of long-term skin damage, and even cancer. Remember to re-apply sunscreen every couple of hours, or more if it is being worn while swimming. Waterproof sunscreen can also be a big help here. Sunscreen with a higher SPF rating provides better protection against the sun, and may be better for people with lighter skin, or for especially sunny settings.
Another way to stay out of the sun is to use shade. Relaxing in the shade is perfect for relaxed activities like reading or board games. Staying in the shade is a great way to enjoy all of the health benefits of sunlight without any of the risks. Shade can be in the form of trees, clouds, or even shade structures like outdoor umbrellas.
Taking breaks now and then is a good way to make sure that the heat doesn't become overwhelming. This tip combines well with tips number 1 and 3, as the best way to take breaks is in the shade while drinking water. Breaks should be taken every couple of hours or so, depending on how hot the weather is outside.
While it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes the most effective way to defend against sun damage is to wear more clothing. Hats, especially ones with wide brims or bills in the front to create shade, can be especially helpful. This way, the child's head, neck and shoulders are protected. Sunglasses can also protect children's eyes from the sun's brightness while making them look totally rad. Covering up exposed skin with long, lightweight clothing may also be helpful, although thicker clothes may trap too much heat. Dark colors and clothing with a tight weave work best.