New advice from Cancer Research UK hopes to help protect children from sunburn during the holiday months. Research has shown that whether you travel to another country or are just playing in your garden, if you get sunburnt it can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer later in life.
“Sunburn, which doesn’t have to be red-raw, peeling or blistering, is a clear sign that the skin cells have been damaged in ways that can lead to skin cancer later in life,” said Caroline Cerny, from Cancer Research UK.
“Young skin is particularly vulnerable to damage from the sun’s UV rays so, by getting kids into good habits now, you can protect them from painful sunburn and help reduce the risk of skin cancer in years to come.”
To provide a bit of help and advice, follow these top tips from Cancer Research UK and Superdrug to help protect your children in the sun…
- Set good habits for the future – teaching children safe sun habits while they’re young sets a good pattern for later life.
- Remember you can burn in the UK – the Great British sun is quite capable of burning your child! Take extra care at home as well as abroad.
- Use shade – keep your baby in complete shade: under trees, umbrellas, canopies or indoors. Provide shade for buggies, if possible.
- Cover them up – when outdoors, protect your baby’s skin with loose-fitting clothes, and a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears.
- Wear sunglasses – buy good quality, wraparound sunglasses for children as soon as they can wear them. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive brands.
- Find hats they like – encourage children to wear hats with brims, especially if they aren’t wearing sunglasses. The wider the brim, the more skin will be shaded from the sun.
- Use sunscreen wisely – use at least a factor 15 sunscreen and choose a “broad-spectrum” brand that has a four or five-star rating. Apply to areas that can’t be protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands. Choose sunscreens that are formulated for children and babies’ skin. These products are less likely to contain alcohol or fragrances that might irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.
- Apply sunscreen generously and regularly – put some on before children go outdoors. Sunscreen can easily be washed, rubbed or sweated off, so reapply often throughout the day.
The type of skin your child has is also a factor in determining their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. For example, children with fair skin, red hair, pale eyes or lots of moles or freckles are at increased risk of sunburn, so make sure you’re extra vigilent.