Back to School already?? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Summer is ending, backpacks are stocked with the tools needed for a successful year, and kids are flocking back to school. It’s important to have a Game Plan to keep kids sun-safe once they’re spending up to 8 hours a day at school with lots of time on hot playgrounds, outdoors in PE class, and standing in line outside of classrooms.
Number 1 on our Sun Safety Plan is to develop solid year-around sun protection habits in our kids. Good habits when they’re young lowers the risk of skin cancer later in life – that’s a big deal! We need to keep in mind that even just one blistering sunburn as a child can double a person’s chance of developing skin cancer as an adult. One burn is too many. So we’ve got to let them know that sun-safety doesn’t stop at the end of Summer.
Make it part of your kids’ morning bathroom routine to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. Add it to their check list – brush teeth, use deodorant, apply sunscreen. Most elementary schools have their recesses between 10AM & 2PM, when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. Instruct your child to re-apply their sunscreen before recess, asking for a pass to the bathroom and using the mirror to make sure they don’t miss a spot. And don’t forget the teens who are in after school sports. You should also encourage your child to play in the shade at recess and ask schools to put up shade structures if you notice that your school is particularly exposed. Most important is to lead by example and protect yourself. If your child sees you applying sunscreen during your morning routine, they will know you mean business when you have them do it too.
Have supplies on hand to make the plan easy to follow. Let’s face it, life gets busy when we’re all heading into new Fall routines. A Sun Safe List should include the following:
A wide-brimmed hat that will protect your child’s face, neck, and ears. A UV protective hat can block out 98% of the sun’s UV rays and protect your kiddo’s delicate scalp. Our Sunny Flap Bucket Hat comes in bright colors that will go perfectly with anything and they’re certified UPF 50+. Bonus – get one in your school’s colors for Spirit Days!
Broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 that’s easy for your child to reapply on her own. Send in an extra for the teacher to keep at her desk. Easy to apply sticks fit into a backpack without worry of making a mess.
The MD Solar Science Mineral Sunscreen Stick is SPF 40 and contains naturally derived Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen protection. Bonus – this one is water-resistant and won’t run into their eyes.
UV protective clothing for every day, and especially field trips when your child might be outside for many hours. UV Skinz sun-wear comes in so many unique colors and prints that your kids will love pairing with their favorite skirts or shorts.
Shirts that are light-weight and breathable will keep your kiddo cool and comfortable all day and lead seamlessly right into Fall. We love the jackets and hoodies that work overtime on the playground and the boy’s pants that keep them cool and dry quickly for those recess to classroom transitions. Bonus – these sun-safe clothes are perfect for the multi-sport athlete!
The final part of the plan is to get your school on board.
The safety of students is the #1 priority at any school. Keeping kids safe from the dangers of the sun should be a part of that agenda. Some districts have legislation that allow children to bring hats, sunscreen and sunglasses to school while others limit 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 be an advocate for your child’s sun safety and to educate your school on the importance of skin cancer prevention. You can also find out how to create a Sun Safety Committee if your school doesn’t have one. These are very good resources and we encourage you to take advantage of them.
If you have any tips on how you encourage your child to wear a hat, apply sunscreen, or wear UV protective clothing, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page! We love seeing photos and sharing with families who are living sun-safe lives.