Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sun Safety

This year on Memorial Day, I had the bright idea of bringing out the baby pool for Kayla to have some splash time fun, I enlisted my husband and sister to make sure everything was set up and perfect for Kayla's first backyard pool experience.

Swimsuit.... check
Toys... check
Camera.... check
Towels... check
Sunblock... Huh? We are Black (African American) do we need sunblock?

For many years I operated under the assumption that being African American I didn't need sunblock because my darker skin would protect me from UVA and UVB rays, so it never dawned on me to pick any up for my daughter, but once I felt the heat of the sun and looked at her little face, I knew I needed to make sure she was protected. I now know that my assumption was incorrect and African Americans do need sunscreen/sunblock to protect our skin from sun damage and prevent skin cancer. I have learned from my experience and want to pass on some summer sun safety to all you mamas out there that are important regardless of your ethnicity.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/ , The Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/ and The Center For Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/ here are the best ways to ensure proper sun safety for you and your little ones:

Keep babies 6 months and under out of direct sun exposure, this can be achieved by using the shade of a tree, canopy, hat or umbrella.

Wear cool comfortable lightweight clothing

Use a broad spectrum sunscreen/sunblock as this will protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Use a sunscreen/sunblock with a minimum of SPF15, the greater the SPF or the "star" rating the more sun protection.

For sensitive areas such as the nose, cheek, top of ears and shoulders use a sunscreen/ sunblock containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

For small babies under 6 months sunscreen/sunblock should be applied to small areas like the face and back of hands; for all others sunscreen/sunblock should be applied to ALL exposed areas of skin 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every 2 hours ( more if swimming).
There are organic sunscreens/sunblocks available for pregnant women or others concerned with some of the chemicals found in sun block products.

Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Sun damage is a preventable risk factor for ALL skin cancers. Please keep your self and your family safe!