The sun plays an important role in our lives on the Gold Coast. Sunlight is our best source of vitamin D, however, too much sun can cause sunburn and cancer. Finding the right balance for your family can help them enjoy the outdoors without the unwanted consequences.
We have answered some of the the most commonly asked questions about sun safety below.
I want my children to enjoy the sun without getting sunburnt. When is the best time of the day for sun exposure?
Ideally, the best time of the day to be out in the sun from 6am to 9am and then from 4pm until sundown. At these times the sun is not beaming down too heavily and the UV index stays low. Depending on the skin type and duration of sun exposure, it is still possible to get slight sunburn during these times if you are not careful. For this reason, it is always important to apply sunscreen before going outside for long periods of time.
How often should we reapply my child's sunscreen?
Many parents wonder why their children still get sunburnt after applying sunscreen. This is usually because several factors can cause sunscreen to come off or become less effective. Humidity, sweat and water will affect how often your child's sunscreen should be reapplied. On average, sunscreen with SPF 15 will last for slightly over 3 hours, but this does consider outside factors like those mentioned earlier. The Cancer Council of Australia recommends sunscreen is reapplied every 2 hours.
One of the biggest factors to consider is the type of outdoor activity your child is engaging in. If they are lounging around the beach near shade and out of the water, you will probably not need to reapply sunscreen that often. However, if your child has been swimming or is playing a football game on a sunny day, you will need to reapply frequently. Also remember that your child can still be sunburnt when the sun is hiding behind the clouds on an overcast day.
What are some signs of skin damage?
A great way to ensure your child has healthy skin is to watch out for possible signs of damage. It is important to keep an eye on any moles, and watch out for any changes in skin colour or texture. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it is always a good idea to visit the family doctor as soon as possible.
How important is eyewear for sun protection?
It is as important to protect your child’s eyes from the sun as it is to protect their skin. Kids have the tendency to look straight at the sun even if you tell them not to. Prolonged sun exposure to the eyes can cause cataracts, damaged outer corneas and blurry vision. Most children don’t have a problem wearing sunglasses, but they will often forget to take a pair with them before going out. They are also easy to lose. It is important to remind and check up on them every once in awhile, and a good idea to attach a holder to the glasses so they can be worn around the neck - making one of these could be an activity you do together. You can also carry an extra pair with you when going out just incase your child's glasses are forgotten.