The weather is hot, hot, hot and our children’s sensitive skin can be easily damaged by the harsh Australian sun and heat.
It’s important that parents are proactive in their approach to sun safety for children to ensure their short and long term health.
UV damage in childhood significantly increases the risk of skin cancer so it is important to help children develop good sun protection habits early as these will carry them through into adulthood.
The Cancer Council tells us that 95% of skin cancers are a result of UV radiation. Further, 2 in 3 Australian adults are diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. But, don’t panic. It’s easy to shift the dial in your child’s favour to not be an Aussie skin damage statistic.
Sun Safety for Children: Protect their skin while still allowing them to enjoy themselves outside with these easy to adopt suggestions:
Keep up your fluids drinking as much water as possible to replace the water you lose through sweating. Your body is 60% water and your skin is the largest living organ in your body, so replacement of fluids is necessary.
2. Balanced diet
A balanced diet can sometimes be hard, and some of us simply don’t like to eat when it’s hot. When I think of summertime I automatically think of all the beautiful fruits and vegetables available. Fresh smoothies, Juices and Icey poles are just some of the ways you can keep your little ones cool and they’re Fruit and Vegetable intake high without them knowing it!
Over the last couple of years, Sunscreen has improved so much. You can now purchase sunscreen for Sensitive skin, Children and even in the pump sprays. It is great to get the kids into the habit of applying sunscreen a couple of times a day when the sun is shining. Remember Slip, Slap, Slop.
When its comes to sun safety for children, hats is always the answer! The good old Truckers Hat has almost become a fashion accessory, although it is better to get the kids into wearing a wide-brimmed hat to help protect ears, shoulders and back of their neck. The legionnaires’ hat (truckers cap with a flap at the back to protect the neck and ears) made a great comeback in recent times, especially with schools. Tips here to help your baby keep their hat on.
The last thing we usually think of wearing in summer or those 40° days is a long-sleeved shirt. Covering up your skin is a great way of protecting your skin from sunburn. I see many different types of fabrics available to protect the skin and keep cool at the same time. Any garment that allows the skin to breathe and be sheltered from the sun is worth investing in.
If you are playing outside on a sunny day, please erect a shade for the kids so they are not in direct sunlight. Shade could be a beach umbrella, a shade sail or even a portable gazebo. Please take care if it is windy.
7. Water activities
Swimming or playing under the sprinkler has always been a fun way for the kids to cool off on a hot day. It’s one of the best ways I know of to cool the bodies core temperature down fast. If this is what your kids are doing, invest in a ‘Rash vest’ or ‘Swim shirt’ for them as water reflects the sun rays and it is very easy to get sun burnt this way. Remember too, that during this time, regular top up of the sunscreen is important.
8. Bath time
So you have spent the day in and out of the water at the local pools. Please still pop the kids into the bath to wash with a gentle soap (goats milk is great) to make sure all that chlorine is off their skin. I recommend a product called Moisture Bath to help restore some moisture to your skin.
Skin can sometimes need a couple of applications of a good moisturiser to help repair itself. In these hot days, it is important to use a moisturiser that is light. When I talk about a light moisturiser I mean one that will absorb into the skin quickly and not leave an oily film. A heavy moisturiser can clog your pores, make you feel like you’re suffocating and retain body heat.
I think this is one of the most important things we can do for our body all year round, but we all know how much a hot day can exhaust you even if you don’t do anything. So indulge yourself and have an afternoon nap if possible, if not try getting to bed earlier that night.
With these tips and a bit of common sense, it is possible for your child to not only enjoy this wonderful weather but also decrease the damage done to their very sensitive skin by the sun and irritants like chlorine.
Helping young children understand the importance of sun protection can play an important part. They will adopt good sun safety habits as they grow.
If you’re looking for more sun safe information you might like to check out these great resources:
- Sun Smart: Sun Protection for Children
- Cancer Council as a great sport to buy sun safe clothing for the whole family
- and this scary warning from a mum who’s child suffered second degree burns when using Banana Boat sunscreen.
Felicity O’Donohue is the owner of The Karma Soap Company, a business making their mark on families across the world with their handmade Goats Milk Soaps, Moisturisers and other wholesome skin products. Felicity is a busy mum to two little boys, Riley and Mackenzie. Riley has Eczema and Mackenzie has sensitive skin. Not wanting to constantly rely on using steriodal creams, we looked into alternative products and fell in love with not only how well Goats Milk products helped, but the way they made everyone’s skin feel. For further information please check out our website or Facebook.