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Back to School Sun Safety

Posted: September 1st, 2018

Whether you feel sad or relieved when your children start back to school this fall, you hope that the good lessons you taught them, will not be forgotten. Teaching your kids and teens to protect their skin and eyes from the dangers of the sun—all year long—is very important.

Sun exposure during a typical school day can be very high since children usually have outdoor recess between 10 AM and 2 PM. This time of day is when the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays are especially strong. After school activities and sports are usually done when the sun is still strong. School & car windowscan expose kids to the sun too.

Consistently using sun protection during your childhood years can significantly reduce the risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Having a serious talk with your kids about this important topic and encouraging them to apply sunscreen as a normal daily routine is crucial in teaching them sun safety. Let your child choose the formulation they like best. Keep sunscreen in the bathroom, close to the toothpaste, to remind them to apply every morning. Notes on mirrors work as well.

Have your children place sunscreen in their school lockers and guide them on when and how to reapply it. If they have after-school sports to attend, be sure to have sunscreen readily available in their backpack or bag.

Young adolescents may be under a lot of pressure to dress or look a certain way. Even though they know tanning is dangerous, they may still try to tan to fit in. If your teens insist on getting a tan, introduce them to self-tanners. These are great alternatives to create a natural glow without the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.

Children and teens can protect their skin by wearing cool rash guards and sun shirts that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or higher. If they do not like wide-brimmed hats, have them shop for one that is adequate. Also, choosing sunglasses is just as important, and make sure they have UV protection.

Parents and caregivers are your children’s role models so let them see you using sun protection too!