Protecting kids from the sun
If you have kids who love the outdoors Ã¢â‚¬â€ but need some prodding to apply sunscreen Ã¢â‚¬â€ check out my <a href=”http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007707240360″ target=”_blank”>story about new strategies to avoid skin damage</a>.
In my reporting, I learned that one of the most effective ways to protect your skin is to wear clothing with sun block built in. In Australia, where skin cancer is an even bigger health threat than here, clothing is more popular than sunscreen. Here in the United States, it’s just catching on. I became intrigued by the topic when I looked for a swimsuit for my daughter. I decided to buy one from <a href=”http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?page=wave-bodysuit&categoryId=45507&storeId=1&catalogId=1&langId=-1&parentCategory=8138&cat4=8137&shop_method=pp&feat=8138-tn” target=”_blank”>L.L. Bean</a> that covers up a good 75 percent of her body and features SPF 40 protection. Even so, and despite liberal and frequent applications of SPF 50 sunscreen on the exposed parts, Pumpkin finished last week’s vacation on the beach with tanned arms and legs. Her head, thankfully, was completely protected by a white hat with flaps that my sister-in-law bought from her dermatologist.
My story also talks about cute fish-shaped stickers from Huggies that sense how long you’ve been in the sun. When they change color, it’s time to apply more sunscreen. I brought them with us on vacation, but didn’t end up using them. I think they would be ideal for an older child who needs a gimmick to accept a second application of sunscreen.
I did take along Oregon Scientific’s Personal UV Monitor with Exposure Timer (pictured here at right). It is a pretty cool little gadget. I had to take some good-natured ribbing from my brother-in-law about using it. (“What’s the UV index, Julie?”) It seemed to work pretty well. On a cloudy day, it reported the UV index was low to medium. On a bright day, it was high. The only problem is that we weren’t that affected by these reports. After all, when you go on a week-long beach vacation, you tend to … go to the beach. And since I’m a sunscreen nut to begin with, I slathered us all up equally on the cloudy and sunny days.
The results from our poll on the topic found that most of you (82 percent) rely on sunscreen to protect your kids from the sun. Just two people said they use hats, long sleeves and other gear. Just one person admitted being a sun-worshipper who doesn’t worry about the topic.
Any thoughts? Have you invested in sun gear? What’s your sun-protection strategy?