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Hitting the Beaches on the Coast? Don’t Forget Sun Protection!

Hitting the Beaches on the Coast? Don’t Forget Sun Protection!

During summer, we all spend at least some time out in the hot sun. Whether you’re out enjoying the beaches of the Mississippi Sound or cutting grass or walking dogs, there’s no escaping the searing heat and sun of the deep south.

Based on statistics compiled by the American Academy of Dermatology, parents worry much more about over-exposure to the sun than they used to. A recent survey they conducted showed that 74-percent of parents surveyed said they “worry about sun protection more than their parents did with them,” and 90-percent of parents wisely believe “it’s important to teach their children healthy habits now, so they will keep them when they are adults.”

It’s all about keeping kids healthy for the future.

“Research shows that it only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, later in life,” said Ali Hendi, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, via written comment. “It’s great news that more parents today are aware of the risks associated with sun exposure and recognize the importance of protecting their children from the sun.”

While some sun exposure is safe — and even desirable, as it helps the body produce Vitamin D — the suggested broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher isn’t the only way to provide coverage when the sun exposure period is too long or too intense.

According to Dr. Hendi, the following measures will also help minimize exposure:

— The first obvious tip is to seek shade, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when sun is strongest. Instead, spend those hours indoors, visiting a coast tourist attraction, museum, or local shop and save the beach time for early mornings or late afternoon.

— When outside with infants, don’t forget to make use of the stroller’s hood. Canopies or umbrellas are also useful when outdoors.

— Consider sun-protective clothing, such as lightweight long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection.

— Remember that sunscreen is not to be used on children under six-months of age. For the tiniest members of the family, opt instead for hats and sun-protective clothing.

About The Author

Kara Bachman

Kara Bachman is a Managing Editor for Parents & Kids. She's also a book editor, former newspaper reporter, and is author of the humor essay collection, "Kissing the Crisis," which deals with the zanier aspects of parenting, relationships and turning 40. She's read her work on NPR radio and over 1,500 items have appeared in dozens of literary and commercial publications, including The Writer, The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and, Dogster, Mississippi Magazine, American Fitness and many more. She's a New Orleans native, but lived for over a dozen years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including during 2005 when her house was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She's a mom to two teenagers.

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