Wicken Toys are back with a helping of advice for how to keep your little ones safe on even the sunniest of days. It’s fun to play outside in the sun, but that doesn’t mean safety should be overlooked! It's not been the summer we were all hoping for but expectations are high for an Indian Summer come August and September.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are divided into three broad categories: UVA, UVB and UVC. Although UVC rays are the most potentially dangerous, they are stopped by the ozone layer of the atmosphere, so we needn’t worry about those for the time being. UVA and UVB rays, however, can both cause lasting damage – UVA has been linked to skin aging and wrinkling, while UVB is associated with sunburns, cataracts and damage to the immune system, although both are suggested to contribute to the likelihood of skin cancer. It’s not all doom and gloom though, in moderation and with sufficient preparation these rays will only contribute to a pleasant summer and allow your kids to play outdoors happily.
Not all sunlight is of the same strength – close to the equator and at higher altitudes the sun’s rays are stronger, so take particular care if you’re planning a holiday abroad this year. These rays are at a concentrated strength at certain times of the day too, usually between 10am and 4pm in the northern hemisphere. At these times it’s generally best to avoid the sun altogether if possible, but if it’s a necessity there are precautions you can take to make sure your youngsters are as safe as they can be.
Sunscreen is a good precaution, but it should be used as a second line of defence, not a primary one. The first line should be your child’s clothing – the best way to stay safe in the sun’s rays is to cover up. Hats with large brims should be provided, and a shaded area such as an umbrella is an essential addition to any outdoor play area. When applying sunscreen, remember to choose a bottle with as high an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) as possible to provide your children with the best protection they can get, and ensure that the often missed areas such as the back of the neck are liberally covered with lotion.
Dehydration is also a danger in the sun. Everyone needs to take in water to keep functioning properly – this is even more important when so much of your body’s water is being lost in sweat during active play or evaporated due to heat. It’s essential, therefore, to make sure your kids have a bottle of water handy at all times too.
Remember to set a good example to your kids – take care of yourself as well as them. In the meantime, make the most of your summer, have a good time, and play safely!
Next week we will address the issue of what to do with the kids during the alternative summer weather - all this cursed rain!