Protecting Our Children This Summer By Being Sun Safe

Summer is a wonderful time of the year, a time to relax, have fun and enjoy the warmth of the sun. But as we all know the sun can be dangerous, it not only emits warmth and light but also Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation cannot be felt or seen and its levels are independent of temperature. Up to 80% of UV radiation can pass through the clouds, meaning it is even possible to get sunburnt on cloudy days.

The sun gives out three types of UV radiation, UVA, UVB and UVC.

  • UVA radiation makes up most of the suns natural light. The rays can penetrate deep into the skin causing wrinkles and ageing.

  • UVB radiation is the most damaging to our skin. It is the main cause of redness and sunburn; they are nearly 1000 times stronger than UVA rays. UVB rays are thought to be the major cause of all types of skin cancer.

  • UVC radiation never reaches the Earths surface as they are blocked out by the Ozone layer.

  • Our children’s skin is thinner, therefore more delicate and is easily damaged by the sun. Getting sunburnt as a child is known to increase the risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. All children, even if they tan well, should be protected from the sun.

    Babies under the age of six months should be kept out of the direct sunlight, especially around midday. They should be kept in complete shade. Cabanas (pop up shelters) are a perfect way to protect babies from the sun on the beach or in the garden. Parasols and shades on your strollers and buggies are also a good way to protect babies when you are out and about.

    The number of cases of skin cancer is increasing worldwide but it is thought that most could be prevented. Setting a good example as parents and teaching children safe sun habits while they are young sets a good pattern for later life. By taking a few simple precautions you can prevent the damaging effects of the suns harmful rays.

    The Cancer Research UK ‘Sun Smart Campaign’ advises that to enjoy the sun safely we should do the following:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
  • Make sure you never burn
  • Aim to cover up with a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
  • Remember to take extra care with children
  • Then use factor 15+ sunscreen or higher