College of DuPage Nursing Student Jennifer Schwarz shared that f kids could be outside 24/7, they would be! Kids have endless amounts of energy and love to explore! The positive aspects of being outside are numerous! Fresh air, playing sports, swimming, riding bikes, hopscotch, and just being with friends. Since living in the midwest and dealing with chilly winters, in addition to being at school five days a week for much of the year, along with the recent limitation inactivity due to the Coronavirus pandemic means for most kids, that summer can’t come soon enough!
During the summer months, however, it is important to remember to practice safety. Sun safety is essential to protect our skin as well as to make sure we don’t overheat! This is a safe practice for life, not only while we are young. Wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes, finding shade under a tree or tent, staying hydrated by drinking enough water are all essential safety practices during summer. In addition to drinking water to stay hydrated, being in a pool or beach will help with staying cool on those extremely hot days. Or even running through a sprinkler in the yard for fun!
A child’s skin needs to be protected at all times when outside during the summer, regardless of the activity. Sunburns not only hurt, but UV rays are harmful! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2019), only a few sunburns may increase the risk of skin cancer in later life and only 15 minutes of UV rays from the sun may damage unprotected skin.
Just as water consumption in summer is essential for hydration, sunblock is essential to protect the skin. So, drink water and use sunblock – the best recipe for any age; never go anywhere without them!
An important recommendation from the CDC would be to choose sunscreens with at least an SPF 15 including UVA and UVB protection, this information will be labeled on the bottle (CDC, 2019). Generously apply sunscreen for at least 30 minutes prior to going outside and also include the ears, nose, lips, and tops of the toes. Remember to reapply after two hours or sooner due to sweating or from toweling off the sunscreen. One application is great, but who wants to swim for only 2 hours? Since our skin protects us, we need to protect it! Invest in sunscreen and keep it in the car, the purse, a beach bag or in a backpack; don’t get caught without it this summer!
Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA. Skin Cancer: How Can I Protect My Children from the Sun? 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/children.htm