Senator Breslin Reminds Parents Not All Sun Protection Comes In A Bottle

Neil D. Breslin

May 15, 2008

As summer begins, it's time to ensure that children safely enjoy fun in the sun 

Albany, NY -- In recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month held annually each May, State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) today reminded parents and guardians of the need to keep safety in mind as schools let out and families head to the beaches, parks and pools that make New York a delight in the sunny season. There are many ways to protect your child from the sun. 

"Experts estimate that most children receive between 50 and 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before reaching the age of 18, so we really need to teach our kids how to enjoy fun in the sun without experiencing injury or illness," Senator Breslin said.      

 Many children enjoy outdoor time during summer months, the Albany lawmaker noted. However, overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause painful sunburns in the short-term, but may also lead to long-term health problems such as skin cancer, cataracts, and premature aging of the skin.   

With the right protections, summer can be a safe and pleasant one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these strategies to protect children's skin all year long: 

    •    Avoid the strongest rays of the day.
         UV rays are most harmful during peak intensity hours. Relatively 
          speaking, the hours   between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most 
          hazardous. If not possible to avoid sun exposure   during that time 
          period, seek out shade under a tree, an umbrella or a pop-up tent.  
    •    Cover up. 
         Clothing is an effective form of sun protection, so cover up with clothes 
         made of  tightly   woven fabric. The best way to protect eyes is to wear 
         wraparound sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Wear a 
         hat that provides shade for the face, ears and neck.   
    •    Use sunscreen consistently.  
         Sunscreen products come in a variety of forms– lotions, sprays, wipes 
         and gels. Be sure to  use one made especially for children with a SPF 
         (sun protection factor) of at least 15 
         and   offers both UVA and UVB protection. Apply 30 minutes before 
         going outdoors. Follow  the manufacturers directions regarding re-application.     
   •    Take special precautions for young children.    
         Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. 
         Dress babies in  lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs and
         use brimmed hats.    
   •     Every child needs sun protection. 
         All children, regardless of skin tone, can develop painful sunburns.   

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"Even on cloudy or overcast days, UV light streams through clouds and reflects off sand, water and concrete, " Senator Breslin concluded. "By combining sun protection measures, you can help your child play it safe this summer and protect your own skin as well."