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Playground Sun Safety Tips For Children

Playground Sun Safety Tips For Children

Precautions should be taken year-round to protect young skin from the harsh affects of the sun when playing outdoors. This is especially important in the summertime when the sun is at its hottest and in countries like New Zealand and Australia. Peak UV radiation levels in New Zealand are around 40% higher than those in North America for example. New Zealand's exposure to high levels of UV radiation is mainly because of the position of the sun, the closeness of the sun during summer months, low levels of pollution in the sky and little protection from ozone in the atmosphere due to the Antarctic ozone layer hole.Aside from sunburn and the long term risks of skin cancer, heatstroke and dehydration are additional hazards to watch out for in young children. But, with a few safety steps and by planning ahead you can avoid all sun related issues. It seems obvious, but the best way to prevent sunburns, heatstroke and dehydration is to stay out of the sun. But that just isn't practical and it's certainly not very fun. So, what are the options? 1. Sunscreen. Buy sunscreen that is specifically made for children and be sure to apply it at least 30 minutes prior to going outside. This gives the sunscreen time to work. Once outside, reapply every two hours or more frequently if the child is swimming or playing in water. To avoid missing bits, there are many products that can be purchased to make this easier. In particular, coloured sunscreen that goes clear after it is absorbed by the skin and spray brands to make application easier on children who just won't stay still.2. Wear a hat. Once outside, a hat is essential and will ideally cover the face, ears and the back of the neck, all very sensitive body parts that are prone to getting burnt. Wearing a hat will also protect you and the kids against heatstroke. 3. Wear sunglasses. Children's eyes are sensitive to strong sunlight so sunglasses are recommended to prevent long term damage. But beware. Many cheap sunglasses for children are fashion items only that do not have UV protective lenses so check the label before buying. 4. Wear long sleeves. There are many kids swim suits and rash tops designed these days to specifically be a barrier against UV rays. At the least, make sure the children are wearing a long sleeved shirt when out in full summer sun.5. Drink plenty of water. Have water available for each child when playing outside. The combination of them running around and the hot sun can quickly dehydrate little bodies. If they won't drink water, add some low sugar cordial or dilute some fruit juice but make sure it's still mainly water.6. Staying out of the sun from 11:00 a.m. until after 2:00 p.m. "Mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun!". Children are neither so stay indoors! Lunchtime is the hottest time of the day and when the sun is at its peak. By avoiding the outdoors at this time of day you can really reduce the chances of sun related illnesses. Indoor Playgrounds provide a fantastic, safe alternative on seriously hot days. You don't need to avoid the sun, just be smart when you are out in it.
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