Ultraviolet Rays - One More Worry For Parents?

American Cancer Society detecting skin cancer premature aging shade skin cancer spots sun damage sunscreen uv protective clothing uv rays wrinkles

Whether you're a first time parent or have a half dozen sitting at the kitchen table, you know a large part of parenting involves protecting your family. Three of the top parental "concerns" are:

  • The Big Bad Wolf
  • Creamed Corn
  • Big hairy spiders

If you've spent nights worrying about soothing the fears inspired by the above, you know how stressful it can be. Unfortunately, there's another thing you should add to your worry list, and this one is legitimate - sunshine. As much as we all love a bright sunny day with picnics and playtime, we know that the UV rays from the sun can damage our skin. At the very least, the suns rays can cause premature aging with its wrinkles and spots. In the worst case, UV rays cause skin cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society warns us that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. (Check out http://www.cancer.org for more specifics on types of skin cancers and how to recognize them. Early detection is critical for successful treatment.)

So do you really need to add "sunshine" to your worry list?

The answer is - Yes & No.

Yes, because despite the health benefits from a good romp outside, skin cancer is a real threat to the health of your little one's skin delicate skin. Additionally, the effect from the sun's rays are cumulative, which means the equation is simple: 

The more time a child spends in the sun, the greater the risk of skin damage or cancer.


The answer is NO, because you have several protective alternatives. The days of hiding your child under a shade tree or parasol are long gone, although an hour or two in a shady spot in the middle of the day with a good book can't be underestimated. 

Combatting the sun's rays

Sunscreens have come a long way in the past few years. We now know how to make them safely and they come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors, scents, and strengths. We also know that its important to remember to apply them regularly, and often during a day in the sun. They can be a bit messy and that "remembering to do it" thing is crucial.

If you want an even easier way to protect your family's skin, consider UV protective clothing. If that brings to mind visions of humans wandering around swaddled from head to toe in camouflage, think again. The new UV protective clothing is not only effective, it's lightweight, colourful and fun to wear. It can offer protection from UPF 5 (white cottons which offer ~ 80% protection when dry) to UPF 50+ (special fabrics like Radicool's that offer 98%+ protection), which should just about cover your every need. Once you put UV protective clothing on, you don't have to worry about UV rays on those areas of your body anymore. Slap on some sunscreen on the rest of your kids' bodies and watch them go dig in the sand, jump in the lake, or play in the park.

UV protective clothing allows you to cross off worrying about the sun's rays and go back to worrying about the Big Bad Wolf and those large hairy spiders.


Mike McCarthy

Image courtesy of luigimanultra7.deviantart.com

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