Stop the sun selling your kids cancer- starting today
The reason I want to talk about sun care and using sunscreens is due to the devastating statistics of skin cancer. The number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer continues to rise each year. Why are we not getting smarter? It blows my mind that......
Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. Having three children of my own, that scares me.
Making sure children are getting enough vitamin D is important because it helps their bones and muscles to stay strong and healthy. When their skin is exposed to the sun, vitamin D forms. Although there are some foods that contain vitamin D, being out in the fresh air to play is the easiest way to get the benefits of this amazing vitamin.
Most children receive adequate amounts of vitamin D through their regular day to day life of playing in the backyard, in their school grounds, playing sport or being out in the fresh air after school. The problem ends up being too much sun at the wrong times of the day with limited or no protection.
Children can still get burnt in winter and on over-cast days. Sometimes these days can be worse when you under estimate the suns rays and strength. In summer, especially in warmer climates, as little as a few minutes is all that is required to receive a child's daily vitamin D intake.
PERSONALLY- I like to cover my children in sun protection clothing, hats, sunnies and we stay in the shade as much as possible. But when we do need sunscreen, we use natural sunscreens free of chemicals. My favourite two at the moment are Little Innoscents and Wotnot family sunscreens.
- In summer, stay out on the direct sun between 11am - 3pm if possible.
- If you have to be in the sun between the hottest and most harmful times of the day then follow all the sun smart rules below from the Cancer Council Australia website
Choose clothing that:
- covers as much skin as possible eg. shirts with long sleeves and high necks/collars
- is made from close weave materials such as cotton, polyester/cotton and linen
- if used for swimming, is made from materials such as lycra, which stays sun protective when wet
Make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum and water-resistant. Don’t use sunscreen to increase the amount of time you spend in the sun and always use with other forms of protection too. Apply sunscreen liberally to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours.
3. Slap on a hat
A broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat provides good protection for the face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection. Choose a hat made with closely woven fabric – if you can see through it, UV radiation will get through. Hats may not protect you from reflected UV radiation, so also wear sunglasses and sunscreen.
4. Seek shade
Staying in the shade is an effective way to reduce sun exposure. Use trees or built shade structures, or bring your own! Whatever you use for shade, make sure it casts a dark shadow and use other protection (such as clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen) to avoid reflected UV radiation from nearby surfaces.
5. Slide on some sunglasses
Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98 per cent. Sunglasses should be worn outside during daylight hours. Choose close-fitting wrap-around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard AS 1067. Sunglasses are as important for children as they are for adults.