Summer is in full swing in Portland, and families are eager to bask in the warm rays and enjoy outdoor adventures. And nothing ruins summer fun faster than a sunburn (except maybe brain freeze).
As you venture outdoors, keep these tips in mind to ensure your family has a sun-tastic summer while staying protected from harmful UV rays. Keeping them protected now means lower risk of skin cancer in the future.
Embrace the Shade
When the sun’s rays are strongest, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., seek shade whenever possible. Enjoy picnics under a shady tree, relax in covered outdoor areas, or set up a cozy umbrella at the beach. Encourage your children to take breaks from direct sun exposure to reduce the risk of sunburn.
Slather on the Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a summer essential! Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin, including ears, neck, and the back of hands. You probably need more than you think. Remember those easily overlooked areas, like the tops of feet and the part in your child’s hair.
Reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or excessive sweating. Applying sunscreen generously and frequently is more important than going to higher and higher SPFs.
As for your newborn, doctors would like to remind you that six months is the age to start sunscreen. Before that, keep baby in the shade.
Stylish Sun Hats
Make sun protection fun with fashionable sun hats for your family. Look for hats with wide brims that shade their faces, necks, and ears. Opt for lightweight, breathable materials to keep them cool and comfortable during outdoor play.
Letting your child pick their own hat may increase the chances they’ll actually wear it.
We recommend dressing your child in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers their arms and legs. Clothing made of tightly woven fabrics offers an extra layer of protection against harmful UV rays. Pack extra clothes for water play — wet clothes lose some of their protection against the sun.
Sunglasses that Light up Their Eyes
Protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. Look for sunglasses that fit well and have shatterproof lenses, especially for active kids.
Encourage your child to wear sunglasses when spending time outdoors to shield their eyes from sun damage, especially near water.
When it’s time for water play, choose swimwear that offers built-in sun protection. Look for swimsuits with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which indicates the level of UV protection they provide. These swimsuits act as a barrier between your child’s skin and the sun’s harmful rays, providing added peace of mind during water activities.
Lead by Example
As pediatricians and parents, we know that children learn best by observing their parents and caregivers. Set a positive example by practicing sun safety yourself. Apply sunscreen, wear protective clothing and accessories, and prioritize shade and hydration for yourself. When your children see you taking sun protection seriously, they’ll understand the importance and follow suit.
East Portland Pediatrics
From seeking shade and wearing sunscreen to rocking stylish hats and sunglasses, every step counts in protecting delicate skin from harmful UV rays. Our pediatricians know that sun safety prevents sunburns, reduces the risk of skin damage, and instills lifelong habits of sun protection.
Any questions about sun exposure? We’d be happy to talk it over at your next appointment.
Wishing you and your family a summer filled with sunny smiles, cherished moments, and sun-safe fun!