Spring in Richardson is right around the corner and that means plenty of outdoor sports, festivals and lots of sun!
Richardson is home to some of the best outdoor festivals in all of North Texas. Events like the award-winning Cottonwood Art Festival in May with its national and international artists and the Wildflower Arts & Music Festival with local, regional and national acts on multiple stages make Richardson an epicenter of outdoor fun.
Whether you’re out on the trails, looking for wildlife in Galatyn Park Woodland Preserve, picnicking in Breckenridge Park or biking through Spring Creek, your kids are guaranteed to have a great time. You don’t want to dampen all of that fun by forgetting to protect their skin.
When you are outside with the kids, celebrating a beautiful spring weekend and enjoying the outdoor art, food, and entertainment, sun safety should always be on your mind. Here are some tips to keep everyone ready for spring:
#1: Always wear sunscreen!
Sunscreen should be a part of your family’s everyday life in warm weather and all year-round. Wearing sunscreen helps to prevent the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation and is especially important during the middle of the day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) when most outdoor activities occur.
The sun’s damaging UV rays are at their strongest in the middle of the day. It’s important to protect your kids’ skin — and your own — by applying sunscreen before you go outside and then reapply every one to two hours.
#2: Choose the best sunscreen for kids.
SPF measures protection from damaging UV rays, which is the main cause of sun damage and skin cancer. Sunscreens with an SPF in the 30 to 50 range provide adequate protection without the harsh added chemicals of sunscreens with even higher SPF.
Though spray-on sunscreens are easy to apply and convenient, coverage can be spotty. Especially for kids, rub-on sunscreens with the active ingredient zinc oxide are best.
Once you have the right sunscreen, make sure you apply enough! A good rule of thumb for adults is one full ounce — about enough to fill an entire shot glass — to cover the entire body. And remember, even water-resistant sunscreen needs to be reapplied after swimming or heavy sweating.
#3: Wear a hat.
In addition to sunscreen, sun-protective clothing can also help protect young skin. A baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat adds extra sun protection for the head and face. A pair of UV-blocking sunglasses can also shield little eyes from harsh sunlight, and most kids think they are fun to wear!
Sundresses and spaghetti straps are cute, but they leave a lot of skin exposed. Cotton may be cooler, but clothes made of synthetic fibers provide better protection. Clothes made of tighter weaves and darker colors also protect better than loose weaves and lighter colors.
#4: Drink plenty of water.
When you pack up the family to head out on the trails or to hear some live music, don’t forget to bring plenty of water with you to help prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Dehydration has many symptoms beyond thirst. Flushed skin, dizziness, muscle cramps, and even a dry mouth and lips are all signs that you’re not getting enough to drink.
Staying hydrated is critically important during warmer weather and when you are sweating more than usual. Kids might not recognize the signs of dehydration, so it’s up to you to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids.
Water is always the best choice, but if you need to pack some more fun drinks in the cooler to encourage kids to drink, look for options with the least amount of sugar.
#5: Find some shade!
Even when you are taking all the precautions to protect your family from the heat and the sun, you should still take some time between activities to chill out in the shade.
Look for covered areas to take water breaks while hiking or biking, and when the band takes a set break, look for a shady spot to sit down and rehydrate. If you know you will be out in an exposed area for hours at a time, pack an umbrella for your own portable shade source. Most kids love holding umbrellas, so make sure to pack a small one for them to carry, too.
Questions about how to keep your kids safe in the sun this year or in need of more tips for general sun safety? Contact U.S. Dermatology Partners Richardson today!
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