Kids are at risk for sun damage during spring break

by Nora Plunkett

As families prepare to escape the winter weather for somewhere warmer this spring break, they should exercise caution when exposing their skin to the sun after a long winter indoors. Loyola University Health System (LUHS) pediatric dermatologists warn that kids are especially at risk.

"Protecting your child's from the sun after they have been bundled up all winter is critical to prevent long-term and premature aging," said Lily Uihlein, MD, pediatric dermatologist, LUHS.

Loyola dermatologists warn that those traveling to tropical climates are at an even greater risk for sun damage.

"The sun tends to be more intense in areas closer to the equator, giving you more exposure to harmful UV rays," said Wendy Schumacher-Kim, DO, pediatric dermatologist, LUHS. "Children also have delicate skin, placing them in even greater danger in warmer climates."

Having one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chance of developing melanoma later in life, yet less than one-third of all young people take the proper steps to protect their skin from excessive sun exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Drs. Schumacher-Kim and Uihlein report that teaching children important skin health habits now can ensure that these protective measures become routine as they grow older.

They offer the following tips to protect your family's skin this :

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it liberally at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Repeat application of sunscreen at least every 2-3 hours.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors, including a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, rash guards and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Stay out of the midday sun (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
  • Use a higher SPF when at higher elevations.
  • Avoid sunbathing and tanning salons before your trip. UV rays from artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sunlamps, are just as dangerous as those from the .
  • Set a good example for your children by always using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.

Related Stories

Look for new, improved sunscreen labels

date May 10, 2013

(HealthDay)—New labeling laws for sunscreen will help American consumers choose the product that provides the best sun protection, experts say.

Recommended for you

Are our schools damaging children's eyes?

date Mar 24, 2015

Shockingly, research has shown a dramatic increase in the number of students leaving secondary school with short-sightedness, or myopia, and a new study published in the Journal Perspectives in Public Health, published by SAG ...

Vitamin D vital for gene expression in developing brains

date Mar 24, 2015

Vitamin D deficiency in mothers leading up to and during pregnancy has fundamental consequences for their offspring's brain development, researchers from University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids ...

Chef-enhanced school meals increase healthy food consumption

date Mar 23, 2015

Schools collaborating with a professionally trained chef to improve the taste of healthy meals significantly increased students' fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.