Spring break is a great time for the family to get away from the cold, dark days of winter and have some fun in the sun. Keep your family safe while on your trip by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Sun Safety 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. It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun.
- Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.
Sun Safety for Kids
- Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.
- Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
- When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
- If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.
Sun Safety for the Family
- The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
- The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
- 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 screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
- Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, 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.
- 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.
Use of Tanning Salons
- The intensity of UVR radiation produced by some tanning facilities can be 10 to 15 times higher than the midday sun.
- The AAP supports legislation prohibiting access to tanning salons or use of artificial tanning devices by children under 18 years of age.
- Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
- Never swim alone.
- Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
- Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
- Watch out for traffic – some beaches allow cars.
*used with permission from Florida Travel and Tourism Bureau