Spring Break Health Tips

If your family is planning a spring break escape to some fun in the sun, take a minute to review these sun safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For Babies
• Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
• Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats.

For Kids
• Choose sunscreen that is made for children, preferably waterproof. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for a reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk to your pediatrician.
• Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
• When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.
• If your child gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

For the Family
• The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
• The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete, so be particularly careful of these areas.
• Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day, so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
• When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label — it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
• Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
• Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
• Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
• Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors — it needs time to work on the skin.
• Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

Beach Tips
• Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
• Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard
• Never swim alone.
• Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
• Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
• Watch out for traffic — some beaches allow cars.