There are over 5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. Although skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
The leading culprit for skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Your child has delicate skin that is extra sensitive to these harmful rays. There are risk factors for skin cancer and severe sunburns as a child are one of them. Other factors include those with fair skin, light hair, and blue eyes.
When it comes to children, sun protection is the responsibility of the parent. The first place to start is finding a proper sunscreen. You’ll want to buy a broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF 30 or higher that is effective against both UVA and UVB sunlight. While sunscreen sprays are popular and more convenient, lotions spread more evenly. If you’ve ever used spray sunscreen, you know how easy it is to miss a spot or two. If your child is in and out of the pool or ocean, make sure your sunscreen is water resistant and reapply often. When possible, encourage hats to wear and consider a swim shirt for extra protection. Lastly, look for playgrounds that provide shade. If possible, stay indoors when the sun is emitting its strongest rays, especially between 10am and 2pm.
Luckily, with good sun habits, including proper clothing and sunscreen, children can enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. Establishing strong habits for sun protection at an early age is an invaluable gift to your child. This can ensure that they grow up to be conscious of the sun’s harmful effects as an adult.
Bluewater Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center welcomes the opportunity to teach parents about the dangers of skin cancer and why it is so important to protect young children.