Spending time outside is beneficial for children. They get opportunities to play and enhance their motor skills, improve their social interactions with other kids, and have a much-needed vitamin D boost. Summer, for instance, is a great time for beach visits and backyard playtime. However, basking under the sun for long periods can pose health risks for your child, including dehydration, overheating, and sunburn.

Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can also lead to skin and eye conditions. In Australia, skin cancer rates remain to be one of the highest in the world, accounting for 80% of newly diagnosed cancers every year. Meanwhile, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 13 million Aussies experience one or more long-term ocular issues. Both these risks can be caused by prolonged sun exposure, making sun protection all the more crucial for your young ones. Below, we take a look at how UV rays can affect your child and what you can do to protect them.

UV rays and children

Research published by the National Institutes of Health mentioned that children are more vulnerable to the effects of UV exposure on their skin because the protection in their skin barriers is still immature. Likewise, their eyes are also susceptible to UV damage since their ocular defence mechanisms are not yet fully developed. As a result, children are more at risk of experiencing painful skin and eye conditions like sunburn and photokeratitis, as well as major diseases that could also develop over time, such as skin cancers and cataracts. In that case, it’s best to create healthy practices early to protect your child from the sun and prevent health concerns in the long run. Here’s what you can do:

Tips for sun safety for children

  • Highlight the importance of sunglasses.

Wearing sunnies is crucial to block UV rays from damaging your child’s eyes. You can select the perfect pair that your kid can wear outside. But if you’re having a hard time picking out options, you can consider brands that have sunglasses for adults and kids, such as the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Oakley Holbrook that are available on Sunglass Hut’s online and brick-and-mortar stores. These sunglasses have 100% UV-blocking lenses for guaranteed protection, and they offer a comfortable fit to avoid slipping off. Encouraging your child to wear sunnies lets them enjoy the outdoors without compromising their vision

  • Don’t let your child go outside without sunscreen

It’s no secret that the Australian heat can be brutal, with the UV index reaching dangerous levels during the summer. This is why it’s especially important to apply sunscreen on your child’s exposed skin before letting them go outside. Doing so enables them to enjoy outdoor playtime and wandering without incurring sunburn. You can try sunscreens for kids, such as the Eucerin Sensitive Mineral Zinc Oxide Protection and Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion. These options both have SPF 50 for maximum sun protection and are both water-resistant, which is perfect for activities like swimming.

  • Make them wear a sun hat 

On top of sunnies and sunscreen, you can also have your child slap on a wide-brimmed hat before heading out. This provides extra sun coverage for the eyes and the skin around their neck, face, and ears. Since a child’s hair is also more delicate than adult hair, putting on a sun hat can also prevent hair dryness and frizziness. You can check out a couple of options from Solbari and Myer to help prepare your kid for the intense outdoor heat.

Children are more susceptible to harmful UV damage since the protective barriers of their skin and eyes are not yet fully developed. Following these simple yet effective sun protection tips can help your kid have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. For more articles like this, visit the Kiddipedia website.