In most instances when we go to the beach we go because it's hot! And with heat comes the sun.
In Australia we have high UV (ultraviolet) rays, however regardless of whether you are situated, in Australia or another part of the world we all need to protect our kids from the sun's harmful rays.
Our babies and young children have such sensitive skin and are more vulnerable to sunburn. And don't think because it's not a really sunny day that you don't need to take any precautions.
Often the days we are most at risk are those that are overcast or high wind.
So what steps can we take to ensure our kids safety from the sun's harmful rays?
Firstly we need to consider what our kids are wearing
Always wear a hat when outdoors, especially when at the beach. If you start this habit from an early age you will find your kids will get into a routine more easily.
Try and encourage them to wear a hat with a wide brim. Unfortunately a cap will not protect your child’s ears and neck from the sun.
Most adults will wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. Often we need our sunglasses to see past the glare.
Don't forget your kids too, if the sun is hurting your eyes chances are your kids feel the same way. There is a huge variety of kid's sunglasses available today, ranging not only in size but colour and design.
Check out the Kidz Bandz that is specifically designed for kids aged 0-5.
Kidz Banz were originally designed in Australia for one of the world’s toughest UV environments.
Category 3 lenses offering a high sun glare reduction and UV protection,
Capable of being replaced with prescription lenses if required,
Side adjustable Velcro allows for years of wear as the child grows, and
Frame is made of shatter-resistant polycarbonate
So if you find that your toddler is resisting normal sunglasses, pulling them off as soon as you attempt to put them on, these are a great alternative.
With so many options on the market it's understandable that you may get confused. Do you put them in a one piece, two piece or rash vest?
When swimming outdoors most people will recommend you look for a swimsuit that is going to offer the maximum coverage / protection. Therefore you will find that the ‘rash vests' or ‘rash suits' will most likely accommodate your needs.
Note: Clothing that has been designed for protection from the sun will have a UPF on the label. The UPF indicates how effective a fabric is at blocking out solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR).
A fabric with a UPF rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun's UV rays to pass through. This means a significant reduction in UVR exposure.
There are a number of different types of shoes you can purchase that are tailored for water activity.
They are usually rubber soled preventing slipping when by a pool, and protect your kid's feet from rough surfaces at the beach such as stones or shells.
And, made from very flexible fabric that allows the foot to breathe. They are great for kids in and out of the water.
Check out these swimming shoes by Kushies™
Secondly we need to consider sunscreen
There are so many different sunscreens to choose from these days, you can buy it as a spray, gel, roll-on or cream.
But regardless of all these options the most important thing to consider when choosing a sunscreen for your family is its level of protection against the suns UVR.
Sunscreen is measured by SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor. The use of sunscreen is designed to reflect the sun's UV from your skin and the professionals recommend you use a sunscreen that is 30+ SPF.
But remember, you need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you are out at the beach or by the pool. It usually only lasts up to 4 hours, and when mixed with water sometimes even less.
And finally, the best way to protect your kids from the sun is to avoid it during peak times. Try to arrange activities before 11am or after 3pm, as the sun is most harmful between these times.
If you are at the beach for majority of the day, try using a sun dome or beach tent to create a little shade and relief from the sun.