From May 1st to May 7th, it is National Sun Awareness Week. As we move towards summer’s brighter and sunnier days, it is important to pay attention to how the weather can affect the health of our children and their skin.
Sunburn, even from an early age, increases your chance of contracting illnesses and diseases such as skin cancer. Sunburn can occur even when it is cold or cloudy as it is caused by UV rays, not by heat or direct sunlight. That’s why it is important to practice sun safety all year round, not just in summer months!
NHS recommends that you use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and at least a four-star UVA protection. You should also make sure that the sunscreen is not expired, as after the expiry date it loses its effectiveness! Sunscreen should also be regularly re-applied throughout the day, especially after entering swimming pools or the sea.
Another way to keep safe in the sun is to keep skin covered. Light but long-sleeved tops and long trousers or skirts instead of shorts all help to avoid sunburn! This is especially good for children, and providing them with hats is advisable to help protect the face, ears, and back of the neck.
As well as your child’s skin, you should be protecting your child’s eyes. Looking directly at the sun should always be avoided, but sunlight reflecting from sand, snow, concrete and water for example, can cause damage to the eyes.
When sourcing sunglasses, opt for wraparounds, as they protect the eyes from all angles. If not wraparound, look for glasses with wide arms. Pay close attention to the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E - this ensures that the sunglasses will protect the eyes from UV rays.
Of course, people with lighter skin are more susceptible to sunburn, but everyone should be careful in the sun! Avoiding burning also avoids painful skin and skin peeling. Stay safe this summer, but don’t forget to enjoy your time outside!