One way to keep your child safe from the potentially damaging rays of the sun is to place a layer of clothing between his skin and the sunlight. While many children and parents alike respond to the arrival of warm weather by shedding some clothes, this is often not the best choice. Clothing can protect your child from the sun and reduce his chances of both basic sunburn and the more serious threat of skin cancer.
Importance of Gearing Up
While it may seem like your child’s youth would make up only a small portion of his lifelong sun exposure, this time of fun in the sun will make up most of his sun-exposure time. As the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) reports, most people receive 80 percent of the sun exposure they will experience throughout their entire life in their first 18 years.
Protective Clothing for Babies
While protective clothing for children of all ages is important, it is even more important for those under 6 months, as sunscreen cannot be used in infants below this age, reports KidsHealth. To ensure that your newborn is protected from the sun, take advantage of bonnets or sun hats. Keep his car seat or carrier shade pulled at all times.
Cover Up for Safety
The only way to decrease the amount of skin that is exposed the sun while your child plays is to cover him up. Instead of slipping your child into shorts and tanks come summer, purchase long-sleeved shirts and pants in thin fabrics, recommends the AOCD.
The UV Ray Test
A piece of clothing doesn’t have to be thick to protect your child from the sun, nor does it have to have any high-tech UV protection. As KidsHealth reports, you can ensure that your child’s clothing will block out the sun by placing your hand inside the garment and determining whether you can see your skin through the fibers. If you can see your hand, the sun’s rays will be able to penetrate the fabric.
Don’t Forget the Eyes
When dressing your child for the sun, don’t forget about his eyes. As KidsHealth reports, if your child’s eyes are exposed to the bright sun light too frequently, he will be at an increased risk for the development of cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens. To reduce the likelihood of this vision damage, get your child a pair of sunglasses to wear when outside during the daylight hours.