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Help Your Kids Be Sun Smart During Summer's Hottest Days

The sun is out, and it’s that glorious season of dripping cherry popsicles and watermelon wedges by the lake. One of our favorite sunscreen companies, Coppertone, is making it safer to become a summer fun champion, especially for the little ones. They recently launched a campaign to encourage parents to apply sunscreen more frequently.

Tips for Becoming a Sun-Savvy Role Model:

  1. Talk to Your Kids: Remind them to practice sun-safe behaviors and incorporate smart sun protection habits into their routine, such as finding shade during peak UV hours, drinking plenty of water, and applying sunscreen as directed.
  2. Be Proactive: Ask camp counselors and coaches about their sun protection policies, specifically if they allow time in the shade when players are “benched.”
  3. Be a Role Model: Show your children the importance of wearing sun-protective clothing and making sunscreen application a part of your morning ritual.
We talked to Coppertone’s consultant, Ana M. Duarte, MD, Division Director of Dermatology at Miami Children’s Hospital, and asked her some of our “burning” questions about being smart in the sun.

CL: Why is sunscreen for children particularly important?

AD: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one blistering sunburn in childhood can increase the chance of developing skin cancer later in life. Additionally, 23% of a person’s sun exposure occurs during childhood, which means, instilling sun protection behaviors in children is very important. Damage is cumulative, which can result in skin cancer.

CL: What are some tips for encouraging children to adopt healthy sun habits?

AD: Parents should make sunscreen application fun for their children. Being sun safe doesn’t have to be a chore. A few ways they can do this is explaining what the UV index means or testing out the shadow rule with their kids on a sunny day. If their shadow is shorter than they are tall, UV rays are particularly strong. Remember UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Make sure to teach your family that sun protection is as important as wearing a bike helmet. To help ensure everyone’s protected, wear sun-protective clothing and take shade breaks to reapply sunscreen.

CL: How often should I reapply sunscreen?

AD: Although parents may be applying sunscreen to their children before school, summer camp or family fun, ideally it should be replied every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying, especially during outdoor activities to avoid potentially risking unsafe sun exposure and sunburns.

For more information, parents can go to www.coppertone.com to download a guide to help their kids develop sun-smart habits that can last a lifetime.