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Source: American Academy of Dermatology
Protection For Children
The ABC's for FUN in the SUN
WHY protect against the sun?
Sun exposure has long been thought to be a healthy benefit of outdoor activity. Recent information, however, has shown some unhealthy effects of sun exposure, including early aging of the skin and skin cancer.
WHAT kinds of damage does sun exposure
Part of the sun's energy that reaches us on earth is composed of rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) light. When ultraviolet light rays enter the skin, they damage the skin cells, causing visible and invisible injuries.
Sunburn, a visible type of damage, appears just a few hours after sun exposure. In many people, this type of damage also causes tanning.
Ultraviolet light rays also cause invisible damage to skin cells. Some of the injury is repaired by the cells, but some of the cell damage adds up year after year. In 20 or 30 years or more, the built-up damage appears as wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer.
WHICH types of sun damage lead to
Severe sunburns, the early visible type of damage, may be related to the development many years later of the most dangerous kind of skin cancer called melanoma, which is potentially fatal. Melanomas can develop in all age groups, including teenagers and young adults. Melanomas can spread to other parts of the body.
The built-up invisible type of sun damage can lead to skin cancers on the face, ears and neck. Basal cell cancers usually develop in middle life and later life, but can appear as early as one's 20s. These cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. However, their continuous growth makes their removal a necessity. Squamous cell cancers can spread to other parts of the body if they are not surgically treated early.
should sun protection begin?
Sun protection should begin in infancy and continue throughout life. It is estimated that children get about 80 percent of their total lifetime sun exposure in the first 18 years of life. Therefore, sun prevention in childhood is very important to prevent skin cancer later in life.
can I protect my children from the sun?
Begin NOW to teach your children to follow the "ABCs for FUN in the SUN."
A = AWAY. Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day.
B = BLOCK. Use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
C = COVER UP. Wear a T-shirt and a hat.
S = SPEAK OUT. Talk
to family and friends about sun protection.
should be avoided?
Stay away from the midday sun and its intense rays. Schedule play times and outdoor activities before 11:00 A.M. and after 3 P.M. daylight savings time (10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. standard time). The sun's energy is greatest when it travels through less atmosphere at midday. It is also more intense closer to the equator, in the mountains, and in the summer. The sun's damaging effects are increased by reflection from water, white sand, and snow.
Avoid long periods of direct sun exposure. Sit or play in the shade.
Avoid sunburn. Be aware of the length of time you are in the sun. It may take only 15 minutes of midday summer sun to burn a fair-skinned person.
can sun damage be blocked?
BLOCK sun damage by applying a sunblock lotion or sunstick of at least SPF 15. The protective ability of sunblock is rated by Sun Protection Factor (SPF) - the higher the SPF the stronger the protection. SPF numbers indicate the length of time one can spend in the sun without risk of burning. When using a 15 SPF sunblock, a fair-skinned person who normally sunburns after 20 minutes of midday sun exposure may tolerate 15 times 20 minutes (=300 minutes) without sunburning.
Choose a sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher. Apply as much sunscreen as you would a lotion for dry skin. Spread it evenly over all uncovered skin, including ears and lips, but avoiding eyelids, about 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.
Invisible sunscreens work by trapping the ultraviolet energy and preventing that energy from damaging the skin.
Visible opaque white or colored sunblock creams prevent all light from entering the skin. They may contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They are useful for high risk areas such as the nose, lips, and shoulders and may also be used on babies.
Infants under 6 months of age are best kept out of direct sun and covered by protective clothing. Apply sunscreen beginning at six months of age.
can clothing be used for sun protection?
COVER UP with a hat and light colored clothing when outdoors. Don't play or work outdoors without a shirt. Put on a shirt and hat after swimming or wear a T-shirt while swimming. In addition to filtering out the sun, tightly woven clothing reflects heat and helps to keep you feeling cool. Sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays protect the eyes and eyelids.
else can be done?
SPEAK OUT for sun protection now. Do your part to protect others from sun damage. Show your family how to apply a sunscreen by spreading it evenly over your skin and invisibly over your skin. Remember to keep babies out of the sun and use an umbrella over the stroller. Talk to the coach, camp counselor, Scout leader, gym teacher and other leaders about the "ABCs for FUN in the SUN." Ask them to help you with the simple changes that can prevent sun damage. Start preventing sun damage in childhood now.
Be a part of the Block the Sun, Not the Fun program and teach your children how to be sun smart all year long! This educational program is brought to you by the American Academy of Dermatology with the support of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, maker of Coppertone® Suncare Products. Both organizations know how important sun protection is for everyone, especially for children. In fact, just one bad, blistering sunburn during childhood can double the risk of skin cancer later in life.
In the next few pages you'll find fun learning activities to do with your child, sun-safety tips for the whole family, and information about a poster contest that could win your child and three others a trip to Disney World!
Invite your whole family to learn about the Block the Sun, Not the Fun program!
Roger I. Ceilley, MD
It is estimated that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18. Research indicates that regular use of sunblock with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher during the first 18 years of life can lower the risk of certain skin cancers by 78%. (Parents, check with your doctor before using sunblock on a child under six months.) For maximum protection, children should also ear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved T-shirts and sunglasses, and avoid the mid-day sun.
Dermatologists (doctors) recommend using sunblock with a minimum of SPF 15. Remember, SPF 15 is a minimum recommendation. If you or your child has fair skin, light colored eyes and hair, freckles, or spends a lot of time outside, consider using an SPF 30 or higher.
the Sun, Not the Fun!
|Tips from Dermatologists|
(PARENTS, hang this page on your fridge.)
The sun is the pirate !!!
the clock. Try to limit the amount of time
you're in direct sun during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Make a statement with shades, hat, and a wild T-shirt. A cool pair of UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses protect your eyes like nothing else. As for your hat, if you get really hot, dunk it in water, then pull it on (but make sure it's a wide brimmed hat). Of course, a long-sleeve T-shirt is a must for summer fun.
Block the sun year round. It's possible to burn all year (that includes cloudy and snowy days). So whether you're walking to school or outside playing don't forget to block the that sun, to have fun year round!
a sunblock with an SPF of at least 15. If you
have fair skin, light-colored eyes and hair, freckles, or spend
a lot of time outside, use an SPF 30 or higher. Apply sunblock
15 minutes before you go out. Reapply after prolonged swimming,
vigorous activity, sweating, or toweling off.
Remember your ears, nose, neck and hands. They may seem small but they can burn big time. Always cover these areas with sunblock.
"Waterproof" your skin. If you're spending a day at the beach or at the pool, cover up with waterproof sunblock. After swimming, toweling off, sweating, and/or vigorous activity, be sure to reapply sunblock.
Share your sun