1. Know that spending time outside has many physical and mental benefits.
Stepping outside on a sunny day is a great way for kids to stay active, social and cut down on excess screen time while having fun. The key is striking the perfect balance between quality time outside and protecting their little bodies from too much sun exposure.
2. Watch out for the strongest rays of the day—10 am to 2 pm.
The sun is strongest and its rays the most powerful during these hours. If possible, try to limit the exposure to direct sunlight for this time. Plan indoor activities or seek shade during these peak hours.
If staying outside is the only option, then apply and reapply sunscreen. Even if it’s cloudy, it’s still possible for the sun’s rays to reach the skin, so—apply and reapply sunscreen. Keep reading for more about that.
3. Keep babies (6 months and younger) out of direct sunlight
Baby skin is still developing and is extra sensitive because it’s so thin. If being inside is not an option on hot, sunny days, find a shady spot somewhere—like under a tree, umbrella or the stroller canopy. Dress your baby in lightweight, comfortable clothing that covers the arms and legs. Ask your pediatrician if it’s ok to apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
4. Stick to a good sunscreen and be consistent about applying it.
Here’s what you should know about sunscreen:
- Look for “broad spectrum” on the label—which means protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Go for a SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapply at least every two hours.
- Don’t miss the ears, shoulders and tops of the feet.
- If swimming is part of the plan, look for “water resistant” on the label. Reapply more often if toweling off frequently.
Remember, sunscreen is an extra line of defense, not a free pass to stay out in the sun for a longer time! Always encourage your child to limit their direct sun exposure.