As a mum, protecting your children from UV radiation is a top priority. According to the Cancer Council, up to 50% of a person’s total UV exposure up to age 60 occurs before they turn 20. With this in mind, here are our five top tips for protecting your family during the summer heat.
A good sunscreen works wonders
Getting a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) or 30 or higher is crucial for providing your children with ideal sun protection. Apply the sunscreen around 20 minutes before they go outside, and be sure to reapply it every 2-4 hours – more frequently if they are swimming or doing any other activity that might result in the sunscreen rubbing off.
For children under the age of six months or with sensitive skin, non-chemical sunscreens like those made from zinc oxide, combined with appropriate clothing and wide-brimmed or legionnaire’s hats, are often the best form of sun protection.
Get to know ABCDE
Regular check-ups at a SunDoctors clinic are important for your skin if you’re an adult. However, getting to know what you and your children’s skin looks like and being able to identify any of the warning signs for skin cancer is a great way of staying on top of any potential issues.
When conducting an at-home examination, use the ABCDE method to identify if a mole is potentially dangerous. What is the ABCDE method?
A (Asymmetry): Is one half of the mole larger than the other half?
B (Border): Is the border of the mole irregular or ill-defined?
C (Colour): Does the mole have shades of blue, red, brown or black? Does it have more than one colour?
D (Diameter): Is the mole’s diameter larger than 6mm?
E (Elevation): Is the mole slightly raised?
Though children do not necessarily need regular check-ups at a clinic, any changes to their moles should be looked at by a qualified medical professional.
Avoid the sun during the middle of the day
To avoid your children developing a sunburn, it’s best for them not to be out in the summer sun between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (daylight savings time). If they are outside during this time, make sure that they wear protective clothing and have sunscreen properly applied.
Kids can get skin cancer
Though it is quite uncommon, children can nevertheless develop skin cancer. It’s normal for your kids to develop moles and freckles during and before puberty, though you should keep an eye on any ones that look suspicious or potentially dangerous.
Children generally have a thinner dermis than adults aged 25-40. As a result, high levels of sun exposure during childhood are associated with a greater risk of developing melanoma or other skin cancers later in life.
Teach your kids about prevention
Though there are many things that you can do to keep your children protected from the sun, teaching them how to take charge of their own protection is the best way of ensuring long-term health for their skin. Show them how to apply sunscreen correctly, what to wear in the sun, and how to identify if clothing is likely to block most UV rays – these will become lifelong skills that, when the time comes, they can then pass on to their own children.
Regular skin checks are a part of sun-safe living. Schedule a quick check-up for yourself or your child at one of our clinics today.