We’ve always been a family who like to get outdoors as much as possible, especially when it’s warm and sunny. Staying safe in the sun is extra-important at this time of year – the risk of sunburn is at its peak between March and October in the UK. Over-exposure to the UV radiation is a major cause of skin cancer, with sunburn in childhood being a key risk factor. Teaching our children how to stay safe in the sun whilst still being able to have fun is so important and Boots Soltan have created a fabulous online resource for parents and schools to help our children learn how to be sun-safe.
I’m quite firm when it comes to making sure the girls are covered in sun cream and wear their hats on sunny days, but I wondered how much of the message about staying safe in the sun Jessica already understood at the age of four.
Me: “What does Mummy put on you when it’s sunny outside Jessica?”
Jessica: “A warm coat.”
Me: “Not when it’s hot. What do I put on you when it’s hot outside?”
Jessica: “Sun cream.”
Me: “Do you know why I put sun cream on you?”
Jessica: “So I don’t get burnt.”
It’s good to know she already understands why she needs to have her sun cream on.
Sun safety tip #1 – Wear sun cream
Sun cream should have an SPF of at least 30 and a 5-star UVA rating to help protect children’s skin from the sun. We’re quite fair-skinned so I always use SPF50 for the girls and myself. It’s important to apply plenty of suncream (most people don’t apply enough but for an average-sized adult, you need around 35ml) to all exposed areas and not to rub it in too much. The most common areas for children to burn are the shoulders and the back of the neck so make sure these areas are well covered in cream or with clothing. Sun cream also needs to be reapplied regularly – at least every 2 hours, and immediately after being in the water or being towelled off.
My twin sister helped to illustrate the importance of wearing sun cream when we were visiting over the weekend and so this was a good opportunity to explain to Jessica why she needed to wear it:
Me: “Auntie Fizz forgot to put suncream on. That’s why her skin went all red and ouchy.”
Jessica: “Silly Auntie Fizz. You have to wear suncream. What about Nanny?”
Me: “Nanny stayed in the shade.”
Sun safety tip #2 – Avoid the sun’s rays
Staying in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest is another good way of helping to protect your skin from the sun. Covering up with loose clothing and a hat also helps.
Sun safety tip #3 – Protect your children’s eyes
Children’s eyes also need to be protected through teaching them not to look directly at the sun. Wearing sunglasses can also help – check that they meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the “CE” mark though. Jessica’s prescription glasses already have UV protection in the lenses so she doesn’t need sunglasses, although Sophie does.
As part of teaching the girls about sun safety, we were sent a stencil of my blog logo and some photochromic paints to try and recreate it. The girls loved the way the colour of the paint deepened in the sunlight and trying to recreate my blog logo by painting over the stencil. We might not have done the best job with recreating it but we had fun doing so. The best bit was showing the girls how the “magic paint” worked – once the picture was dry, I stored it in the garage (where it was dark) and then showed the girls how the colour magically reappeared when I brought it back out into the sunlight.
We were also sent some sun cream from the Boots Soltan range which has been put to good use. All the cream we received was SPF50 (apart from the protect and repel spray which was a SPF30) and has a UVA rating of 5 stars. I liked the fact that the cream wasn’t too greasy and absorbed easily.
The Soltan Once Kids 8 hour play suncare spray gives 8 hours’ protection from the sun and an hour’s water resistance so is ideal for putting on Jessica before she goes to preschool (I always make sure she has sun cream in her bag, but this cream gives me peace of mind that her skin is protected even if the sun cream doesn’t get reapplied while she’s there). The Soltan Once Kids 3 hour water play suncare spray from the same range gives up to 6 hours’ protection and 3 hour’ water resistance. The Soltan dry touch range is perfect for beach days as it dries within 60 seconds to help prevent sand sticking to your skin. We were also sent the Soltan protect and repel suncare spray which includes an insect repellent – perfect for me as the bugs seem to like to feast on me in the summer!
We were sent the stencil, photochromic paint and suncream from Boots Soltan in order to help highlight their campaign to teach children about the importance of sun safety. All opinions are my own.