We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more working for a week or two …” the cheery notes of Cliff Richard’s song play on your radio while you count down the seconds until you can sink your toes in the beach sand. We all get excited for the December holidays, and often forget about important sun, water and travel safety facts. Remember to pack the sun screen, car seat, armbands and your third eye (to watch your child when she’s near water), and keep these safety tips in mind.
• Your family needs protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays whenever you’re outdoors; you don’t necessarily need to be at the beach or pool to get too much sun.
• Sunscreens have a limited ability to protect your scalp and hair, so invest in a funky hat for each family member.
• Children are quite likely to rub their sunscreen off, so invest in special swimwear for them.
• Be sure to look out for clothing approved by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). Remember to apply sunscreen underneath the suit.
• It’s best to avoid sun exposure during midday when UV rays are at their strongest and most harmful. If this is unavoidable, let your children play under the shade of a tree or a pop-up-tent. Alternatively, you can plan indoor activities at midday to protect your family from the sun.
• Dress your child in clothing that covers her skin to help protect her from UV rays.
• Invest in a decent pair of sunglasses for you and your kids. Look for wrap-around brands that block as close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays as possible. If you don’t wear sunglasses, you could run the risk of developing cataracts (clouding of the eyes’ crystalline lenses) later in life.
• Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and UVA and UVB protection every time she goes outside. Remember to put it in her ears, and on her nose, lips and the top of her feet, and remember to reapply the sunscreen every two hours.
• Always keep sunscreen with you during the day; you’ll need to reapply it after your child swims or exercises. This applies to waterproof and water-resistant products, too.
• When applying sunscreen to a baby who’s younger than six months, follow the directions on the product carefully.
• Babies can burn in the shade; even though they’re under an umbrella, the sun reflects off the sand and the sea. To prevent severe sun damage, choose a dark-coloured umbrella and make sure your little one’s face is covered with a sunscreen lotion that’s suitable for babies.
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