We all want to enjoy the sunshine, and watch the pure delight on our kids’ faces as they run on the beach, but you can’t stop hearing those pesky warnings about the dangers of sunburn and skin cancer. The truth is, the sun is an essential source of Vitamin D, which is crucial for developing healthy bones, and it can help fight depression; in short, it’s not evil. However, too much sun can cause damage to skin, and no parent wants to see their child suffer through sunburn. The only solution, therefore, is compromise. Here are a few ways you can let your children enjoy the sunshine, without risking UV damage.
Infants younger than 6 months should not be in the sun at all. Melanin, the key pigment that protects our skin from sunburn, is not available in an infant’s skin before this age, and their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. To protect your baby from the sun, dress them in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet that protects their face, neck, and ears. A baby who wears a hat during the first few months will get used to having it on. You can also take other precautions, such as only walking with the pram before 10 AM and after 4 PM, and by using removable mesh window shields to keep direct sunlight from coming in through the windows of your car. This won’t reduce visibility, so your baby can still enjoy the sights while you drive.
It’s good for children to spend time in the garden or at the beach during the summer, but the problem is that they’re at high risk for sunburn between 10 AM and 4PM each day. The best thing you can do is encourage them to wear a hat, or just make do with providing lunch in a shaded area. If they’re reluctant to get out of the sun, you can compromise with lunch in an orangery. Unlike conservatories, orangeries are built with glazed sides and brick supports, and they provide ample protection from the sun. In fact, the orangery is much cooler than the garden, so why don’t you buy an orangery online and see where the kids prefer to spend their day. This way, they can enjoy the warmth and light of the summer, and you can rest easy knowing that no one will be crying from sunburns.
No matter how lightweight your clothes are, sometimes they don’t have the cooling effect you were hoping for. If tank tops are the only way your kids can feel comfortable in the heat, then the only solution is sunscreen. The best kind of sunscreen for kids will have an SPF of at least 50, and it must be reapplied every time it’s sweated off, or it washes off after a swim. Kids shouldn’t use sunscreen as an excuse to stay out in the sun longer - they should still come inside for lunch, at least.