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As They Grow: Glorious Sun

In Canada, we are sun deprived.  Health Canada recommends that we all use vitamin D from Thanksgiving to Easter- that is just how sun deprived we are.  It is natural for us to want to get out and bask in the glory of the sun’s rays when summer comes.

Of course, we now recognize that exposure to the sun is not without its perils.  The harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun are a large risk factor for the development of many forms of skin cancer, including the most sinister, a melanoma.

Sun protection needs to be considered at any age.  Sunscreens may not be used in infants younger than six months but a UV protected stroller cover and UV protected clothing afford some protection.  Avoidance of peak sun hours can also be protective.

After the age of six months, sunscreens may be used. Children’s sunscreens use physical barriers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that do not absorb into the body as opposed to chemicals. It is important that they be applied half an hour before an anticipated outing.  They also need to be reapplied periodically especially if the outing involves water play.  Sunscreens should be applied to all areas of the body including the back of the neck, behind ears and on parts in the hair.

A lip balm with an SPF of 30 or more is also important to use.  Sunscreens that are marked for children particularly must have ingredients that are safe for children. Spray-on sunscreens are often flammable so using during barbecue and fire pit season is a disaster waiting to happen.

The best protection is really avoidance.  Avoiding peak hours and finding shade while enjoying the outdoors is key.

Have a great summer but stay sun safe!!

Dana Libby, Child and Family Therapist, Early Years Team Vanier Children’s Services For the Middlesex-London Community Early Years Partnership


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