The sun is one of Earth’s most important sources of energy. It provides heat, light, and necessary warmth for all living organisms on this planet. The sun also produces vitamin D which is responsible for calcium absorption, among other things. It is essential for our survival that we are exposed to the sun. However, too much direct exposure can cause severe negative effects, especially in children. Because of that, it’s important that you understand how too much san can affect your child, and that there are some key ways to protect your kids from these harmful effects so that they can grow up to be healthy and happy.
1. Children Have More Sensitive Skin
Because of their thinner skin and less developed immune system children can be more susceptible to UV rays. Their skin is not as resistant to the sun’s harmful effects. When you expose your child to too much sunlight, it can result in severe sunburn that might cause pain and discomfort for days or even weeks. That is why it is highly recommended that parents take precautions and keep their children out of direct sunlight as much as they can. The first step to doing this is ensuring your property has adequate features that will allow your kids to play in a safe way. Starting with the outside, you might want to consider installing retractable awnings. Finding them should be easy enough – if you live in Georgia, just look for an Atlanta awning company online, and if you live in Tennessee, search Nashville awning company, and so forth. Awnings have proven to be very effective because they protect both your home and the people inside from UV rays, while still allowing enough sunlight in for natural, safe exposure.
2. Spending Time Outdoors
It’s no secret that kids love to play outside. When planning a day out with your kid, it’s important that you try to take advantage of this natural exposure to sunlight in a safe way. Make sure you go on hikes, take nature walks, or even just plan a picnic outside. Just make sure that your kids are properly protected with sunscreen and that you keep an eye on them so that they don’t overdo it and get burnt. If possible, try to do the same thing in your backyard. If you have a pool, great! If not, why don’t you get one? Swimming pools are a great way for kids to play outside in water while still getting the proper amount of sunlight they need to be healthy. That said, it’s best to avoid spending time outside from 10 am to 4 pm while the sun is at its strongest. If you do decide to go out during that time, make sure to stick to the shade, and avoid water, sand, and other reflective surfaces until the sun has gone down a little bit.
3. Children Need Vitamin D Too
Like all humans, children need vitamin D to develop properly and grow big and strong. However, it’s important that this essential nutrient is acquired through an appropriate source – like food or supplements. Exposure to the sun is not a good choice for the main source of vitamin D for a child. This is because too much exposure causes severe health complications and disturbs your child’s normal development. In fact, too much exposure to harmful UV rays can cause serious health conditions like skin cancer, which can be fatal. That said, it’s important to take a good look at your child’s skin. If you see any changes like spots, lesions, or anything else that seems suspect, you should schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor as soon as possible. Even though it’s dangerous, if caught early on, skin cancer is very treatable.
4. Developing Healthy Habits
The more parents know about the harmful effects of UV rays on children, the better they will be able to protect their kids. This is why it’s highly recommended that you increase your knowledge and awareness when it comes to how too much sun exposure can cause severe issues. Once you do that, it’ll be simple for you to decide what precautions to take and how best to protect your children from the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing adequate clothing, sunscreen, as well as staying in shade during the most crucial hours of the day (10 am to 4 pm), and having your kids wear sunglasses and hats can go a long way towards increasing their protection. By doing this regularly, you’ll be helping your child to develop healthy habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
5. Reflective Surfaces
Sunlight can be reflected from surfaces or objects that are light in color and reflective in their nature. This causes the ultraviolet rays to bounce back into your child’s eyes, increasing their exposure without them knowing it. Even on a cloudy day, this is still a risk – especially if you’re near water. If you’re going out for a swim with your child, make sure you take the proper steps to protect your kid – like having them wear sunglasses. Never let your child play on a sandy beach for too long because those tiny particles can reflect sunlight right back into their eyes. If you’re near any large bodies of water at all, like a nearby lake or pond, make sure that your kids don’t swim for too long. As a general rule, it’s not recommended that you spend more than an hour or so at a time near water.
6. Sun Safety During Winter
The sun is also a factor in winter activities because it reflects off the snow. Make sure to apply sunscreen to exposed areas whenever going out with your kid for a few hours or more during the winter months. Even when it’s not snowing, there are still UV rays to consider, so wearing sunscreen isn’t something that should only be reserved for the warmer months. It’s recommended that you put on sunscreen on a regular basis, especially when going out in direct sunlight for a few hours at a time. This is because the harmful UV rays can still pass through the clouds and cause damage to your child’s eyes and skin.
Since it’s such a crucial part of living and growing up, you should take every precaution necessary to protect your kids from the harmful effects of UV rays whenever possible. Always consult with your child’s doctor if they notice any unusual symptoms or health problems. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll help set them up for a lifetime of good and healthy habits.