Research finds that millions of parents in the UK may have never applied sun protection to their children, including during the summer months. While a child’s exposure to the sun will vary depending on the season and their activity levels, it’s important that they’re protected from harmful UV rays all-year round. After all, a child shouldn’t be concerned with how tan they are.
It’s important to note that sun exposure is also essential to our health. Our skin produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun, and this helps us absorb calcium to strengthen our bones. However, this process doesn’t take a lot of sun to trigger, so excessive exposure to UV rays can cause skin and eye damage. Especially with the risk of developing skin cancer, parents should be vigilant when it comes to protecting their kids from UV rays.
The study found that one in 10 parents cannot remember a time when they applied sunscreen on their kids. When questioned as to why that is, most replied that they didn’t believe their child’s skin needed it. Of the parents surveyed, one in four believes that the sunlight in the UK doesn’t warrant extra precaution, and one in five thinks that the sun isn’t harmful on overcast days. Despite this, nearly half of all the parents have stated that their child has suffered from sunburns in the past.
Half of the parents who participated in the study were diligent in applying sunscreen on their children every day during the hotter months. They usually make their selection of sun protection based on ratings, reviews, or brand recognition. However, dermatologists recommend more protection between April and September, as these are the months with the highest UV levels on an average day. In other words, vigilance with sun protection should not exclusively be during the summer; even overcast days have UV rays beaming down on us.
A parent’s attitude towards sun protection will shape how the child will view it later in life. While it’s important to go out and get some sun, it’s also imperative that children are made aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure. Their learning will start with seeing their parents diligently applying sunscreen when needed.