For the next few months, the weather is only going to get nicer and that means more time spent outside with fewer layers on. The sun can feel great on our skin, but too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Keeping your family safe from potentially damaging UV rays needs to come from the parents and be practiced by every member of your household, so today, we’re going to share some tips to help keep the whole family safe from harmful rays.
Family Sun Safety Tips
Here are a number of tips based on the age range of the members of your family.
- Infants and Toddlers – Very young children should be kept out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time, and even short durations in the sun should be carefully monitored. If you know you’re going to be outside with your child, dress them in breathable layers to help prevent direct contact from UV rays, or use umbrellas, hats and sunglasses to help limit exposure to the head and face. Ask your pediatrician about what type of sunscreen is best for your child, and carefully follow their instructions about application on your child’s skin. Your child is too young to be able to protect themselves, so protecting them falls squarely on your shoulders. Be proactive about prevention in young children.
- Kids – Even though your child is talking and can comprehend instructions, the onus still falls on the parents to ensure their child is protected from potentially harmful UV rays. They might love being shirtless in the sprinkler outside, but you need to make sure they have sunscreen and reapply as needed throughout the day. Keep an eye out for any moles or growths that appear to be new or changing in size or color. Bring any concerns to your pediatrician at your next visit. Again, dressing them appropriately when they are going to be out in the sun is key in preventing sunburn and skin cancer risk.
- Teens – Both parents and teens need to take responsibility for skin health at this age. Teens may be craving a sun-kissed glow, but talk to them about the risks of tanning and push them towards sprays or creams that don’t increase their skin cancer risk. Also be sure to talk to them about the importance of checking for moles or changing moles, because early intervention yields the best results. You have less control over making sure they are protected from UV rays at this age, but set them up in a position to succeed. Make sure sunscreen is always plentiful in your household.
- Adults – Finally, while you’re tasked with caring for the skin health of your whole family, it’s also important that you and other adults in the house care for their skin. Sunscreen is your best friend, but you also need to follow the example you put forth to your kids. Avoid tanning beds, wear layers and hats when out in the sun for long periods, and conduct regular checks of your skin for new moles. Remember the ABCDs of skin cancer detection, which stands for Asymmetrical moles, ill-defined Borders, changing Colors and a Diameter over 6mm. If your moles check any of those boxes, reach out to a skin cancer specialist like Dr. Koeplin.
If you follow these tips, we’re confident that you and your family will have a reduced risk of skin cancer. For any questions or for more information, reach out to Dr. Koeplin today.