In this blog, we will cover the top five misconceptions about sun-safety.
As we discuss in our blog about our course, Playing Outdoors, spending time outdoors is an important part of children’s days.
And, as we discuss in our course, Sun Safety, the outdoors offers children many opportunities to be creative, social, and physically active. Typically, children can be louder, more intensely active, and engage in more unlimited exploration than they can indoors.
Outdoor games support gross motor skill development, team building, and unlimited spontaneous discovery and learning moments. Additionally, outdoor play give children many opportunities for creative, physical, and social activities.
The benefits of sunlight
Sunlight benefits us physically, behaviorally, and emotionally. However, sunlight can also be dangerous. Overexposure to sunlight damages the skin and eyes and can contribute to skin cancer.
Protecting children from the sun’s UV radiation, and teaching them life-long sun-safe habits, will allow them to safely take advantage of everything the outdoors has to offer.
Here are the top five misconceptions about sun-safe play
1. You cannot get a sunburn when it is cloudy.
(False!) UV radiation is present whether or not you can see the sunshine. Even on cloudy days, it reaches the Earth’s surface and can cause sunburns.
2. As long as you are wearing sunscreen, there is no need to take any other sun protective measures.
(False!) Sunscreen should not be the only part of your sun protection plan. Even while wearing sunscreen, seek shade and wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.
Try Australia’s slogan to encourage sun-safe behaviors: “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.” “Slip on a shirt. Slop on SPF-30 broad-spectrum sunscreen. Slap on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears, Seek shade, and Slide on sunglasses.”
3. If you use sunscreen with the highest SPF available you don’t need to reapply it.
(False!) You should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF-30. Higher SPFs provide only slightly more protection than lower SPFs, and may mislead users into skipping reapplication or staying outside for long periods of time.
Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the sun and reapply it at least every 2 hours. Additionally, you should reapply sunscreen after getting wet or sweating profusely.
4. Not all children need sun protection.
(False!) All skin can be damaged by overexposure to UV radiation. Skin of all colors should be protected from the sun. Infants under six months should not use sunscreen, but instead should be kept out of direct sunlight.
5. It is easy to determine how intense UV radiation is just by looking or going outside.
(False!) It is not possible to determine UV radiation intensity without special equipment. For example, cloud cover and rain can mask the intensity of the sun.
Knowing the UV radiation exposure risk can help you plan when it is safe to spend time outdoors. If you know the risk, then you can plan protection you and the children should use.
Use the EPA UV index tool on our website to learn the UV Index value for your area.
Want to learn more about sun safety?
Take our course Sun Safety! In this 2 clock-hour Care Course, you will learn key facts about the intensity of UV radiation from the sun and the dangers and benefits of sunlight. The course teaches strategies that will help protect yourself and children from the harmful effects of the sun and how to develop a successful sun safety policy and program.
Looking for more interesting early childhood topics? Check out our blog on reducing stress for children in child care. Learn how to use meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to help children relax and de-stress.
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