Protect your children against sunburn

Parents should take steps to protect children from sunburn by applying sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before outdoor activity.

Summer break means more fun in the sun, but there's nothing fun about a sunburn. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Even a tan indicates damage from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Each year, more than 9,000 people die in the U.S. from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Here are tips to protect your child:

•Cover up with tight-weaved clothing and a hat that covers the face, scalp, ears and neck. Stay in the shade if possible.

•Use sunscreen that says "broad-spectrum" on the label with an SPF of at least 15, and wear sunglasses with a least 99 percent UV protection. All skin types need protection, even on cloudy days.

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•Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors or swimming to give time for the sunscreen to absorb into the skin. Don't forget rims of the ears, lips, back of the neck and tops of the feet.

•Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating. Products labeled "waterproof" provide protection for at least 80 minutes in the water, while "water-resistant" protects for 40 minutes. Sunscreen rubs off when toweling dry.

•Do not use sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months, except for small amounts on face or back of hands. Dress them in lightweight clothing that covers most of the skin and stay in the shade.

•Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when rays are most damaging.

•Set a good example by following the same advice.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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