alt=children's sun hats and rash guard, hands with sunscreen bottles

Preventing Skin Cancer in Children

Your children are what you live for, and protecting them from harm is of the utmost importance. When it comes to skin cancer, there are things you can do to help prevent it, so they don’t have to worry about it as much when they’re a little older. Here is more on preventing skin cancer in children.

Preventing skin cancer in children

There are a few sun-sensible ways to keep your child safer from the effects of the sun. And while we love the sun, long-term, unprotected exposure to these UV rays causes up to 90 percent of all skin cancers.

Limit exposure

One way is to limit your child’s sun exposure. That may be difficult during the summer, when everyone wants to be outside playing, at the beach or lake, or on a boat. But you can schedule time when the sun is not at its brightest, which is by avoiding the hours between 10 am and 4 pm. Yes, that’s a huge chunk of the day, but it’s the most dangerous time for sun exposure. Try keeping them in the shade if you do have to be out at that time. But do keep in mind that shade is not enough. Not only can they still get sunburned, but even on cloudy days the sun still damages skin, sometimes even more so.

Dressing for the sun

You can also dress them for success. This means clothing that has tightly woven fabrics. One example is unbleached cotton. You may also want to consider rash guards. These are clothing that has more protection, and they’re quite comfortable and stylish to wear. Many come with long sleeves, which is highly recommended.

A wide brimmed hat is also recommended. Baseball caps do not cover enough to help prevent sun exposure. You need your child’s ears, neck, scalp, and face shaded from the sun.

Sunscreen is essential

Along with the right clothing, sunscreen is essential. There are a few rules in choosing the right one.

  • Choose sunscreen that has double protection - that means it helps protect your child from both UVA and UVB.
  • Reapply the sunscreen at a minimum of every two hours.
  • Try to find waterproof sunscreen, but if in doubt, reapply it again.
  • Cover the entire area of your child, even the areas with clothing that may let in some of the sun’s rays, such as underneath a shirt.
  • Don’t forget sensitive areas like the ears, nose, feet, and hands.
  • Choose a lip balm that protects your child’s lips. This is a very sun-sensitive area.
  • Make sure that if your child is sweaty or has been in the water use a towel to dry them off before reapplying sunscreen.

Be vigilant

We know that there’s a lot to be aware of when it comes to your children, especially on a day at the beach, boat, lake, or even the backyard. These tips help ensure that you’ve done your best to protect them from sun damage. It may seem odd, but tanning itself shows that the skin has had some damage. And sunburns are damaging as well. Make sure your child is protected the best you can.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.