The importance of protecting children from sunburn

Prevention is always the best form of protection against sunburn. It's important to protect your child from harmful ultra violet (UV) rays as will reduce the risk of skin problems later in life. Many parents don't realise how easy it is for their child to become sunburnt, especially on holiday in countries where the weather is much hotter than the UK, whether it's by the beach or hotel pool or even out and about. Even holidaying here in the UK has risks, as temperatures soar, and so does the risk of sun exposure, even on cloudy days.

protecting children from sunburn

This summer are  campaigning for parents to take more responsibility for their children's skin and have been working to raise awareness of the dangers of harmful UV rays which can put them at risk of permanent skin damage. They have highlighted these dangers in this informative cartoon on their holiday suncream page which can be found here: it shows the effects of not protecting your child from sunburn.

There are two types of harmful rays from exposure to the sun, UVA and UVB, both are invisible and cause damage to your skin as well as premature aging. The UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn, and it's this damage and the effects of UVA rays to your skin which can lead to skin cancer later in life.

Children's skin is more susceptible to damage from UVA and UVB rays, because it is more delicate than adults' skin. The UVA rays are absorbed by the dermis skin layer, which is deep under the surface, these rays can lead to premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. UVB rays are absorbed by the epidermis skin layer, your top layer of skin, which is susceptible to burning and blistering if left unprotected and cause permanent damage to your skin.

The effects of sunburn won't be apparent in your child straight away as it can take a few hours for the full effects to show. Initially their skin will be red and sore and warm to the touch, also causing discomfort. After a few days, the redness has subsided, the skin will begin to flake and peel.

The most severe cases of sunburn you will find that there is blistering and swelling of the affected area, you will also find that the child may also suffer from chills and have a high temperature, plus a general overall feeling of discomfort. With severe cases of sunburn you may also experience symptoms of heat exhaustion which includes dizziness, headaches and nausea. If a child suffers sever sunburn it's important to seek medical advice.

Many experts advocate using a suncream or sunblock with a high factor SPF that has a 5-star UVA protection. The higher the factor the longer the protection, so for children who would be out a lot more in the sun, a high SPF factor would offer the best protection. If you use waterproof suncream, it's still recommended that you reapply after exposure to water. 

Other things you can do to reduce the risk of sunburn is to avoid strong sunlight where ever possible, times of the day where the sun is at its strongest is usually from mid-day until 3pm, however this varies from country to country.  It's also a good idea to cover up with loose clothing and wear a hat, especially if your child has fair skin.

It may seem that sunshine is bad and that it would be easier to keep your child indoors and safe during the summer months, however sunshine also supplies us with exposure to essential vitamin D which has a number of health benefits including helping the absorption of calcium. Exposure also improves mood, helps you sleep better, improves immunity and improves skin condition. So the best way is to let your children enjoy the sunshine, just make sure they are protected!



Here are some advices articles you may also find helpful:
Entertaining the kids in the holidays
Games for long car journeys
Advice on travelling abroad with children

comments powered by Disqus