Top 5 Sunsmart Tips for Summer

Summer is the smell of BBQ’s and salty, sun-filled sessions at the beach. For parents summer is also the season of the great sunscreen chase and hat-wrangling as we attempt to keep our kids safe in the sun.

Top 5 Sunsmart tips for making sun safety a breeze this summer:

1. Hold onto your hats

Hats are an essential line of defense against the sun protecting your face, eyes, ears and neck. In fact research shows that a broad brimmed hat can reduce UV radiation to the eyes by 50%.

Choose a hat with a wide brim or legionnaire style (with a flap at the back) and preferably not a baseball cap which does not give all-round coverage.

A lot of toddlers go through a phase of hat resistance but persistence is key. Some tactics you can try are:

  • Wearing a hat yourself for good role-modelling.
  • Allowing them to choose the hat for themselves with a favourite pattern or logo.
  • Putting it on whilst they are still in the car seat or distracted by something else.
  • Trying a hat with a chin strap.
  • Enforcing the “”No hat, no play” rule.

2. Keep an eye on the UV index

UV radiation from the sun causes sunburn, skin cancer and eye damage and can be deceptively high even when it’s cold or it’s cloudy. When UV levels are above 3, your skin needs protection.

Fortunately the Bureau of Meteorology has an excellent free app called Sunsmart which sends you a notification each morning tailored to your location to let you know if and when sun protection is required.

3. Quench your Thirst

When the heat is up, keep your family hydrated. When water just won’t cut it, make your own icy poles in the freezer with a selection of fruit juices or carve up a juicy watermelon.

4. Catch some shade

Look for the darkest shade possible and, if using a tree, choose one with dense foliage remembering that UV radiation can reflect from surfaces such as sand, water and concrete. If you are regular beach goers, consider investing in an umbrella or beach tent.

On car trips, remember that the side and back windows don’t offer as much protection as the windscreen so use a shade visor or hang a towel or blanket over the window.

Most prams come with sun shades or you can buy additional attachments. Just make sure there is plenty of airflow for your precious passenger. See our tips on pram safety here.

5. Cover Up

Choose clothing made from cool, lightweight fabrics such as cotton, hemp or linen to cover skin, remembering that the tighter the knit, the better the sun protection. And always swim in a rashie.

Finally remember that you are your child’s greatest role model so if you adopt sunsmart behaviours, your child is more likely to do the same.

You can also check out our guide with the latest information on the best sunscreens for your family here.

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