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Practice Sun Safety Throughout the School Year

As kids are heading back to school, it’s still the heat of summer in most of the country. Keeping up your sun safety routine should be at the top of your back-to-school checklist!

Not only is it important to keep kids skin protected from the sun during these end-of-summer hot months, it’s crucial to make sure they are protected year-round while at school. But many schools don’t allow children to bring sunscreen to school or allow teachers to help apply without a doctor’s prescription, so keeping their skin protected while at school can be a challenge.

Here are a few tips to help you ensure your children stay sun safe while on the playground or doing after-school outdoor sports or activities.

Make sunscreen a part of your morning routine

Getting kids ready and out the door for school in the morning is already a hectic time, but applying sunscreen still needs to be incorporated into your routine. Apply a sunscreen of at least SPF30 or more in the morning to your child’s skin before leaving for school.

Keep sunscreen where you will be easily reminded to apply it to your younger children when getting them ready for school – whether that be the bathroom, bedroom or by the front door, keep a bottle handy so you can help them apply to their face and body. Older kids can take responsibility to apply sunscreen themselves – just make sure they make it a part of their morning routine as well. This way, they have on one coat of sunscreen that will protect them for recess, P.E. or other outdoor activities at school.

Put a travel size bottle in your child’s backpack

If your school allows, make sure your kids have a travel size or small bottle of sunscreen in their backpack to reapply before they go to any outdoor sports activities after school. All schools have different policies about bringing sunscreen to school, so be sure to check with your particular school to see if it’s allowed. Sunscreens are considered OTC drugs so many schools won’t permit children to bring it or allow teachers to apply it to students’ skin, although many schools around the country are slowly changing these rules.

Other tips for practicing sun safety throughout the school year:

  • Encourage your kids to seek shade during recess and other time outdoors whenever possible.
  • Dress kids in protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants, darker colors and clothing with UV protection when possible. Many clothing manufacturers now offer stylish UPF-clothes that offer all-day protection without the need to reapply.
  • Encourage kids to wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors. While baseball caps are very popular with kids and do a great job of protecting the scalp, they don’t protect the cheeks, ears and neck. If they prefer a baseball cap, be sure to apply sunscreen to the cheeks, ears and neck before school.
  • Be a good sun safety role model yourself. Make sure you and your spouse practice year-round skin protection so your kids understand the importance.
  • Get involved! As more schools throughout the country begin to acknowledge their role in protecting children from harmful UV radiation, you can do your part by speaking up at parent-teacher or PTA meetings to encourage teachers and administration to help kids protect their skin while they’re at school. Many of the schools that have revised their policies about allowing sunscreen at school have done so after groups of concerned parents worked together and created petitions and other movements to get these rules changed.

 

August 17, 2017 by Blue Lizard Staff

Summer Outdoor and Water Safety for Kids

 

Playing outside until dinner time, running through the sprinkler, spending the day at the local pool, visiting a waterpark, riding bikes with friends, building backyard forts, climbing trees – these are the hallmarks of childhood summers.

But with all this extra time outside and in the water, there are some precautions parents need to take to keep their kids safe and ensure maximum summer fun.

Follow these outdoor and water safety tips to protect your kids while they make summer memoires that will last a lifetime.

Sun Safety

  • For young children, schedule activities in early morning hours or evening hours when temperatures will be lower.
  • Always use sunscreen, even on cloudy days! Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 with broad-spectrum protection that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of ears, feet, backs of hands and scalp.
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if swimming or sweating. At least every two hours.
  • Protect their eyes too. Make sure your kids wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Stay hydrated! Hot weather can increase risk of heat-related illness. Keep water on hand and look for shade in the hottest parts of the day.

Water Safety

  • Designate a “pool-watcher” when children are swimming. When many gather together, adults may think someone else is watching. Having one person that’s in charge can increase safety – rotate this responsibility between adults throughout the day.
  • Never depend on floaties or flotation devices to take the place of close supervision.
  • Know in advance which children can swim and those that cannot. All children need to be supervised. Remember that no child or adult is “drown-proof.”
  • Make sure safety fences and gate latches around the pool are in excellent condition and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep rescue equipment and a fully charged phone on hand in case of emergency.
  • If boating, always have kids wear life-jackets and have one available for each adult. Make sure life-jackets are appropriately fitted.
  • When at the beach, always swim where lifeguards are available if possible. Never let young children swim in the ocean alone.
  • Learn what a rip current looks like and teach your children how to spot them. Also teach your children how to swim out of one if caught in a rip current – teach children not to panic, to not try to fight the current and to swim out of it by swimming perpendicular with the shore. There are many videos available online that show how to swim out of a rip current – watch with your kids before your beach vacation.

 Keep Moving, but Safely!

  • Stay active during the summer, children and adults alike tend to gain weight during these months of vacation. Summer is a wonderful time to head outside and be active
  • Check playground equipment before letting kids play on it. Look for surfaces that are too hot that could cause burns, loose ropes, or broken swing chains or seats.
  • Always supervise children on playground equipment. Teach them safe habits to reduce chance of injury.
  • Always wear a helmet when biking, skating, skateboarding or scooting.
  • Children should not wear headphones while bike riding or walking, as they block traffic sounds and increase risk of pedestrian injuries.

Outdoor Safety: Be prepared for bug bites and more!

  • Keep a first aid kit ready and well stocked so you’re prepared for insect bites (as well as cuts and bruises)!
  • Use insect repellents with DEET on children only sparingly, as DEET can be toxic. Repellents with 10-30 percent concentrations of DEET may be used if you choose to do so, but do not apply to face or hands.
  • Anytime your kids have been playing outdoors, check their heads and skin for ticks. Finding a tick soon reduces the chance it can cause disease such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers and keep in a jar for a period of time so it can be tested if your child begins showing any symptoms of illness.
  • If any of your children are allergic to bees or other insects, it is vital to have medicine available to treat allergic reactions such as an EpiPen.
  • Teach your kids what poison ivy and poison oak looks like and teach them to steer clear of it.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers in the kit that includes phone numbers for doctors, dentists, poison control and emergency contacts.

Share these safety tips with friends and family, and have a safe and happy summer!

 

July 13, 2017 by Blue Lizard Staff

Protecting Little Faces:

Using Sunscreen on Infants and Children

 

Slathering on the sunscreen for lazy days at the pool or beach are warm-weather rituals for many families. But if you're tempted to let your child play outdoors for even a few minutes without the proper sun protection, you’re taking an unhealthy risk. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime risk for melanoma by 80 percent.

baby’s skin is especially delicate and burns more easily. Their sensitive skin contains less melanin, the pigment that gives our hair and eyes their color and offers some sun protection.

Follow these simple tips all year round to help protect you child from the sun’s harmful rays.

 Infants Under 6 Months

  • The use of sunscreen in infants younger than 6 months old is an often-debated topic. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend using sunscreen only on children older than 6 months; the American Academy of Pediatrics, on the other hand, states that using sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months of age is safe. Because of these conflicting recommendations, you should always check with your pediatrician before using sunscreen on babies under 6 months old.
  • Seek shade whenever possible under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress your baby in long sleeves and pants in a light fabric and always use a hat. There are also UV sunglasses made just for babies now that will protect those little eyes.

 Children Older than 6 Months

  •  Sunscreen can be applied to all areas of the body, but be especially careful when applying sunscreen to a child’s face as you don’t want to get it in their eyes and cause stinging. Don’t forget the scalp, ears and neck.
  • Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, as it will screen out both ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) rays.
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, although SPF 30 is the most recommended by dermatologists. Anything over SPF 30 is no longer recommended by dermatologists as the extra protection is negligible and the additional chemicals may cause skin reactions in some kids.
  • Make sure to use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands. Rub it in well.
  • Older children should learn to apply sunscreen themselves, and make it a routine habit.
  • If you chose to use a spray sunscreen, never spray the product directly on a child’s face. Spray in your hands first then apply to the child’s face. Since the safety of spray sunscreens is debatable and the FDA has issued concerns with inhaling their fumes, lotions are recommended by dermatologists for children for safer and more effective application.
  • Sunscreen needs time to absorb into the skin, so apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Anytime your child goes outdoors they need to wear sunscreen, not just when they are at the beach or the pool. Make it a habit to apply sunscreen before your child goes to school in the morning so they are covered during recess. All schools have different rules for bringing and applying sunscreen at school. Some, for example, require a doctor’s prescription, so be sure you know your school’s rules.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, sweating or drying off with a towel. Even sunscreens that are water-resistant still need to be reapplied at least every two hours.

 Keep in mind that sunscreen should be used for sun protection, not as a reason to stay in the sun longer. Adults should also model what we want our children to do and wear sunscreen as well.  You’ll not only set a good example, but you’ll reduce your risk of skin cancer, sun damage and skin aging.

 

June 06, 2017 by Blue Lizard Staff

Five Common Sunscreen Mistakes Parents Make

Protecting your children’s skin from the harmful rays of the sun is so important as sunburns in childhood increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Plus, no parent wants to see their little one suffer with a painful sunburn.

Most parents today are diligent about using sunscreen on their kids, but many may not realize they aren’t using it properly. Here are five common mistakes parents make when using sunscreen on their children and how to fix them.

Sunscreen Mistake #1: Not applying sunscreen before heading outdoors

Sunscreen needs 15 to 30 minutes to be absorbed into your skin, so it is crucial that you apply sunscreen before going to the pool, beach or playground. This will also ensure you apply sunscreen evenly instead of trying to cover a wiggly, excited toddler who’s anxious to go play. And who wants the added torture of listening to your kids whine because they have to wait at least 15 minutes before jumping in the water?

Sunscreen Mistake #2: Not applying enough

Dermatologists recommend at least one ounce of sunscreen for each application – enough to fill a shot glass -- or more depending on the person’s size. If you apply too little, you won’t get the full benefits of the SPF protection. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to areas like the ears, scalp, feet and lips. Dermatologists also do not recommend spray sunscreens because they do not cover evenly, but if you do choose to use a spray, just be sure to rub it in after spraying on the skin.

Mistake #3: Not reapplying often enough

At the very minimum, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours to dry skin. But if your kids are swimming or sweating, you’ll want to reapply more often. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen but just remember that even water-resistant formulas need to be reapplied and even if a sunscreen is labeled “water resistant,” the FDA only allows a maximum claim of 80 minutes.

Mistake #4: Using expired sunscreen

Sunscreens have expiration dates printed on the bottle. It is best not to use a product after its expiration date as it may not be as effective. If your bottle from last summer has expired, throw it out and buy a new bottle.

Mistake #5: Relying only on sunscreen for sun protection

Sunscreen is important but it should not be the only tool you use for sun protection, especially for children. If you are going to be outdoors for long periods, putting a hat on your child as well as dark clothing can add another layer of sun protection. Many companies make sun protective clothing with built-in SPFs, such as swimsuits and rash guards, which are great for covering up kids on the beach or in the water. Be sure to seek shade from an umbrella or tree when outdoors for long stretches of time.

July 28, 2016 by Blue Lizard Staff

Parents’ Guide to Packing the Perfect Beach Bag

A trip to the beach is a time-honored way to spend a summer vacation.  But when you add kids to the mix, you need a little more preparation.

Here are some suggestions for a well-stocked beach bag:

  1. The bag. First you need a good sized bag to haul all your gear. Classic large canvas are good tried-and-true options that can hold a lot of stuff, are inexpensive and hold up well. Or choose a water-proof option such as a large vinyl bag.
  2. Travel-size BabyWipes can come in handy for wiping little sticky or sandy hands and faces.
  3. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. Baby and Sensitive formulas in SPF 30 keep delicate children’s skin protected even as they spend hours in the sand and sun. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of Sport or Regular, which are both water-resistant, so you stay protected while playing in the surf. Blue Lizard’s Smart Bottle™ technology turns the bottle blue in the presence of UV rays and reminds you to reapply throughout the day.
  4. Sunglasses & Hats for both parents and kids.
  5. You may want to pack a separate small cooler with juice boxes, cheese sticks, granola bars, crackers, fruit and other snacks to ward off meltdowns.
  6. Water. Be sure to pack plenty of water – reusable water bottles can be frozen at home, thrown in the bag and then they’ll be the perfect temperature once you hit the sand.
  7. Beach towels. You may also want to bring an old sheet to use as a beach blanket – they are lightweight and sands shakes off easily.
  8. Plastic baggies. Various size Ziploc bags or plastic grocery bags will come in handy for lots of uses such as storing wet swimsuits, protecting your cell phone or other electronics from getting wet or to hold sunscreen so it doesn’t leak onto other items.
  9. Extra swim diapers. If you have little ones still in diapers, be sure to bring a few extra swim diapers and regular diapers.
  10. Beach toys. Pack the classics like beach buckets, shovels, sifters, balls and Frisbees. Don’t forget the boogie boards for the older kids!
  11. A hairbrush or comb. Beach waves look great, but once they dry, they turn into a knotty mess. Combing through your child's wet locks will prevent a painful detangling later in the day.
  12. Mini-first aid kit. Not all beaches have lifeguard stations, so be sure to pack a few bandaids and antiseptic cream.
  13. Change of clothes. Be sure to pack a change of clothing or beach cover-up for each family member, especially if you’ll be driving home from the beach.

Throw in an umbrella and some beach chairs and you’re ready for a day at the beach!

Written by Cristi Driver

 

 

 

June 15, 2015 by Blue Lizard Staff
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