Summer Sun Safety: How to Keep Your Family Protected
It’s all fun in the sun until someone gets burnt. Keeping yourself and your children protected against the suns rays is easy, as long as you’re prepared. There are a few simple rules to follow when it comes to summer holiday sun safety, ensuring you avoid the dreaded sunburn, and minimise the long term risks, too.
When ultraviolet rays hit our skin, they react with a chemical called melanin. Melanin protects our skin by absorbing harmful UV rays, therefore limiting damage. Children with naturally fair skin have less melanin, and in turn will burn more easily. However, lots of melanin or not, the sun harms our skin regardless of whether we are burning or tanning. With this in mind, it’s important to keep kids protected, covered up and out of the sun between the hottest hours of the day.
Slap on the Sunscreen
Suncream works by blocking, reflecting and absorbing UV rays through a combination of physical and chemical particles. Being sure not to miss any skin exposed to the elements, smother yourself and your children in a generous helping of factor 30+, and make sure you reapply it every 2 hours. If you’re at the beach, it’s also important to choose a waterproof or water-resistant formula and to slather it back on each time your children gets out of the sea. We’d recommend using a certified ‘reef safe’ sunscreen, which is free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that are known to damage coral reefs and marine life. (Suncreams containing these chemicals are even banned in Hawaii!) Remember, we can still burn on cloudy days, so top up your SPF, avoid the midday sun and stay hydrated.
Keep Covered Up
The most effective way to avoid sunburn is by minimising sun exposure on your skin. If you can’t keep your kids out of the midday sun (it can be tough when all they want to do is run around!) then make sure you arrive at the beach fully equipped with a sun hat, sunglasses and a Robie (pop the hood up to protect their heads, therefore protecting them from sunstroke). We especially love Original-Series Robies’ for beach days as they provide full length protection and can be popped straight on after being in the sea, allowing kids (and grownups!) to dry off, stay cool and have unrestricted movement.
“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,” is a commonly used expression that isn’t entirely untrue… Us Brits aren’t blessed with endless sunshine, so when the sun has got his hat on, we’re soaking up every minute of it. However, there’s a reason mad dogs are included in the phrase. The suns rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, and it’s best to avoid these times of day if you’re planning on spending long periods outside. Be prepared for beach days by bringing a beach tent, umbrella, windbreak or large sarong for shade, as these cool spaces are integral for keeping kids safe during the hottest part of the day. It’s also crucial to be sun-strict with kids under 6 months old and keep them in the shade constantly. This is because their skin contains too little melanin, which will cause them to burn severely and quickly.
To summarise, the top 5 things to remember for your Great British summer holiday are:
- Factor 30+ sunscreen
- A beach tent
- A Robie per person
- Sun hats
- Plenty of water
Once your bags are packed, you’re ready to go! Enjoy your day on the beach and stay sun-safe during the summer holidays.