Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fun in the Sun!

We have all probably heard this too many times, but good information bears repeating: wear your sunscreen. And make sure your kids wear theirs. With sunny days already here, and the official start of the summer around the corner, there are some basics of safe play:
  1. Wear your sunscreen. Kids are not big fans of this, especially when it starts melting in the heat and gets into their eyes. So, make sure to go for the brand that is designed for children, as these are more likely not to sting.
  2. Wear a lot of sunscreen. Did you know that the recommended quantity of sunscreen is one (1) ounce per application to cover the entire body? Yup. Most people are clearly not wearing enough. Also, make sure to apply sunscreen even under the clothes, since most clothes are not UVA or UVB ray-resistant.
  3. Don’t forget the ears! Or the neck, or little feet when applying sunscreen. Our son has very fine hair, so we put sunscreen on his scalp as well. 
  4. Protect the eyes. Now that you have their and your skin taken care of, it’s time to protect the eyes. You know how you squint when the sun is too strong, because you can’t see anything from the glare? Well, kids feel the same way. Buy them a cool looking set of shades and show them by example. If the kids are going to be involved in very active play, make sure the shades are appropriate for sports and don’t come off easily. 
  5. Cover the head. This could be a tough one, but some kids are OK with it. If they are not, just put sunscreen on their head and hair. 
  6. The right clothes. This one always seems to confuse the parents, but trust me, you should take the kids lead on this. If they say they don’t want to wear something because it makes them feel hot, listen to them. And, generally, stay away from anything that is not a natural fabric (100% cotton, linen, or wool) in the summer. Also a good option on a very hot day is sports gear. Soccer and basketball players’ shirts are made of fabric that wicks the moisture away from the body. Our son spent the entire last summer wearing his US Soccer shirt. 
  7. Water. Not juice, not soda, not any “vitamin-enhanced” drinks, just plain old water. This should probably be #1 on our list. So, yeah, water. 
  8. Snacks. Fruit should always be a first choice, especially in the summer, with all that abundance. However, on very hot days, you should consider giving the kids one snack that contains salt. Why? As any mother who has ever tried to diet can tell you, salt helps you retain water. In the heat of the summer, especially for those little bodies, it is very important. Choose something healthy, like pretzels, or popcorn, or tortilla chips. 
  9. Take a break. In a shade. A good time to do this is when offering water and snacks. This way, they can sit in a shade and cool off, lowering their body temperature. 
  10. HAVE FUN!

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