We've said it before and we'll say it again and again and again. Sun protection is essential. Your baby cannot wear sun screen until at least the age of six months, so it's recommended that younger babies are kept away from direct sun altogether. Older babies can use sun screen, which is vital, but still benefit from plenty of shade too. The thing is that as busy parents, we tend to focus primarily on our little ones and ensure that they are safe and protected during the summer months- but our own protection is just as important! Mums and dads, don't forget to apply your own sunscreen this summer! Here are just three reasons why sun protection is essential for the whole family.
Lead by example
First of all, educating young children on the importance of sun protection is vital if you want them to understand how to take care of their own health, and if you want to avoid daily arguments about it all too! One of the best ways that we can do this is to lead by example. If your children see you applying sunscreen to your own skin, they are more likely to understand it as a process we all go through during the summer months. They will also see you taking care of your own health and wellbeing and are then more likely to consider their own wellbeing as important as a result. Ultimately, we want to avoid the struggle of applying sunscreen to a wriggling toddler as much as we can- and perhaps allowing them to apply it to you first could be the answer!
Your skin is delicate too
Experts advise that just one incidence of sun burn in childhood can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Your baby's skin is super delicate because it's thinner than adult skin, and therefore more susceptible to damage. This is also the reason why sunscreen isn't recommended for very young babies. All of that said, your skin is also delicate. As is your partner's, and any older children in the family too. What happens to your skin when it burns in the sun is pretty horrific if you think about it. And yes, a sun tan is the result of burning- so not really a great look after all, unless it comes from a bottle.
Aside from the physical pain of burning your skin, the sun's harmful rays contributes towards premature ageing of the skin too- which results in more wrinkles, freckles and other skin blemishes. Applying sunscreen and seeking shade wherever you go will prevent this from happening.
Heat stroke can be dangerous whatever the age
While it's true that the very young are at higher risk when it comes to heatstroke or heat exhaustion, that doesn't mean that you are not at just as much risk too. Dehydration can have pretty nasty side effects that make parenting young children pretty miserable, and that's just one symptom of heat stroke. By sitting out in the sun without protection, you are increasing the risks of becoming quite poorly (see this post for more information) and the results can be quite scary.
It's a no brainer. Make sun protection a priority for the whole family. Make applying sun screen part of your daily routine, as you do brushing your teeth. And educate your kids so that they grow into adults who take sun protection just as seriously too.