Summer is winding down and kids all over the country are gearing up to begin a new school year. Parents may be tempted to think that once summer vacation has ended, there isn’t as much of a need to worry about sun safety and using sun protection. However, just because summer is almost over, that doesn’t mean the sun is going on vacation! It is just as important to protect our kids from sun damage during the school year as it is during the dog days of summer.
You can help your children to develop year-round sun protection habits to lower their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 23 percent of lifetime sun exposure occurs by age 18 and one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Just one blistering sunburn as a child can double a person’s chance of developing skin cancer as an adult.
So, you’ve loaded up your shopping cart with pens, markers, crayons, notebooks, and tissues–don’t forget these must-have sun protection items!
- A wide-brimmed hat that will protect your child’s face, neck, and ears. Try a UV-protective hat that can block out 98% of the sun’s UV rays and protect your kiddo’s delicate scalp.
- Broad-spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen that is easy for your child to reapply on his or her own, if needed.
- UV-protective clothing. Especially for those field trip days when your child might be outside for many hours. ie: Zoo, Botanical Gardens, walking tours, etc. UV Skinz UPF 50+ clothing comes in many unique colors that your kids will love pairing with their favorite skirts or shorts. The long-sleeve and short-sleeve options are so lightweight and breathable that it will keep your kiddo cool and comfortable all day long.
Keep in mind that during childhood it is up to parents to protect kids from skin damage caused by sun exposure.Creating a sun-safe routine and practicing it daily will allow them to develop healthy habits as they become adults. Until then, it is also up to the schools and teachers to help reduce sun exposure, but unfortunately, most schools do not have a sun safety policy and many schools ban the use of sunscreen as part of their policies against kids using medications or over the counter drugs at school.
Some schools have legislation that allow children to bring hats, sunscreen and sunglasses to school while others prohibit such actions. If your school doesn’t take your child’s sun safety seriously The Skin Cancer Foundation has a form you can print out and have your child’s doctor sign called the Sun Protection Authorization Form. It’s a perfect way to take control of your child’s sun safety while at school. You can also find out how to create a Sun Safety Committee, if your school doesn’t have one. Very good resources and we encourage you to take advantage of them.