Fighting sun damage at an early age

There is nothing better than a sunny summer day in the eyes of any kid on summer break, making it a time when parents and caregivers have to be acutely aware of seasonal dangers and of taking action to prevent what can be life threatening situations.

These seasonal dangers can be hidden as well as obvious, and many are truly preventable with a little advance planning and attention to detail.

A great place to start your summer safety check is with the house hold supply of sunscreens and sun block. Make sure you have the right product for everyone in the family, and its use should not be restricted to only those lazy days spent on the lakeshore or poolside. These products can and should be used year round to provide the most effective level of protection.

A child isn’t usually going to get sunburn because the wrong sunscreen was used, unless it had an SPF less than 15, say experts with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children get sunburned because they either did not have sunscreen on, put it on after going outside, did not put enough sunscreen on, or because it was not reapplied often enough.

To protect kids from harmful ultraviolet radiation exposure, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the following guidelines.

To protect younger children apply a generous amount of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater and which contains both UVA and UVB protection.

To protect a young adult apply an ounce of sunscreen at a time.

Re-apply sunscreen at least once every two hours.

Apply it more often if the child has been swimming or sweating.

Avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is always considered a good guideline to follow, as is getting children in the habit of wearing a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing when possible.

Consumer Reports has once again issued a report on the top performing sunscreens, and has found some best buys and labeled some sunscreens as ‘recommended.’

According to Consumer Report, it does not matter if a sunscreen is in a spray, cream, or lotion, as no one type protected best. Most sunscreens tested were found to be excellent against UVB rays, and most were very good against UVA rays.

“The only sunscreen that got a ‘fair’ rating is a combination of sunscreen and insect repellent, which most health experts advise against using, since you often have to reapply sunscreen, but don’t reapply insect repellents,” according to the research center.

Important points to remember when about to purchase sunscreen and related products include it should be very water-resistant and hypoallergenic and fragrance free, especially if your child has sensitive skin; and it does not really make a difference in which format it is used.

Whether your family gets in the habit of applying sunscreen of a certain type: stick, gel, lotion, spray, continuous spray, or something else the bottom line is to use it correctly and often.

Sunscreen and protective clothing are not the only safety points to consider when it comes to kids and summertime: backyard and public pools of all types and depths abound in neighborhoods and communities nationwide.

These areas pose a unique and ever present danger, which if ignored can have devastating consequences.

One of the most important rules to follow in these environments is an attentive adult must always be at poolside, and able to respond to emergencies.

Other basic steps which should always be in place include fencing in a pool area with a unit at least four feet tall; installing a self-closing and self-latching gate; having a phone at poolside; and making sure CPR certification is gotten and maintained by as many family and friends who use the pool as is possible.

Steps to take when it comes to pool related safety start with such basics as teaching children of all ages running or roughhousing near a pool invites serious accidents to happen – accidents which can be avoided when rules are followed.

Life altering and even fatal accidents can and do happen when even the most basic of regulations for those in the water and poolside are ignored.

When it comes to young children and swimming activities it is important to follow the AAP recommendation that young children never be left unsupervised when they are in a pool or near one.

The organization also recommends children under the age of four not be given swimming lessons if the reason for taking the class is to prevent drowning.

At snacktime, summer vacation provides a great opportunity for parents to establish healthier eating habits for the whole family than might be practiced during the school year, and adjustments to snack menus is an easy place to start.

Ohio State University Extension experts offer ideas snacking practices to consider introducing in your own home, and they come with a number of benefits built in that can give rise to a lifetime of healthier eating habits and lifestyle.

Keep fruits and vegetables within easy reach, but put other “not so good for you” snack foods in harder to find locations and on higher to reach shelves.

Get the whole family into regularly scheduled activities, such as walking together after dinner several times a week.

Everyone involved will reap the rewards of improved health and stronger avenues of communication within the family as a whole.

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