HEALTH AND CARE: Keep children safe in the sun

Take simple steps to protect you and your family from serious damage
Take simple steps to protect you and your family from serious damage

THE Herald & Gazette has joined forces with GP practices in the area which form part of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This week, the practices speak keeping safe in the sun.

The school holidays are now here, and despite the weather for some of this week, the summer holidays should mean sunshine.

We all look forward to a summer holiday – time off, time to relax, time to re-charge, but we all need to remember to stay safe in the sun.

Exposing your child to too much sun may increase their risk of skin cancer later in life.

Sunburn can also cause considerable pain and discomfort in the short term.

There are some top tips to protect your child from sunburn:

• Encourage your child to play in the shade – for example, under trees – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.

• Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.

• Cover exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet. Reapply often throughout the day.

• Be especially careful to protect your child’s shoulders and the back of their neck when they’re playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.

• Cover your child up in loose, baggy cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.

• Get your child to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.

• Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the “CE” mark (check the label or ask the manufacturer).

• If your child is swimming, use a waterproof sunblock of factor 15 or above. Reapply after towelling.

We should all remember that it isn’t just when we are on holiday abroad that we need to remember these tips. The sun in this country can be just as dangerous.

According to figures from Cancer Research UK, more than 13,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year – and it is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

Young people, in particular, are increasingly being diagnosed. More than a quarter of cases are diagnosed in people under 50, which is unusual compared to most other types of cancer.

We want everyone to enjoy the summer and have a good time in the sun; just remember to take simple steps to protect you and your family from serious damage.

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