Spring Break Sun Safety Tips for Families

With spring break in full swing, it’s important to keep your family’s safety in mind, especially regarding excess sun exposure. Ensure a fun, sunburnt-free family vacation with these helpful tips provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Spring Break Sun Safety Tips:

  • The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Wear commercially available sun-protective clothing, like swim shirts.
  • Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label – it means that the sunscreen will protect against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen and reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying. You may want to select a sunscreen that does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that may have hormonal properties.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunscreen, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The additional benefits of using sunscreen with SPF 50+ are limited.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Put on sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors – it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.
  • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
  • Try to find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck. Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
  • Apply sunscreen to areas of your child’s skin that aren’t covered by clothing.

Spring Break Sun Safety Tips for Babies:

  • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.
  • It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.

For more information, visit www.healthychildren.org and search “Spring Break Safety Tips.”