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Spring break requirements: hat, SPF 15

MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2005

NOW THAT HUNTING for Easter eggs is over, it’s time to think about what to do with the kids for their spring break.

It’s a great time for the family to get away from the cold, dark days of winter and have some fun in the sun. Keep your family safe while on your trip by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Infant tips

Babies under six 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. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.

Clothing tips

Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective. When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also a good idea for protecting your child’s eyes.

Sunscreen tips: When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label – it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Before covering your child, test the sunscreen on your child’s back for a possible allergic reaction. Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors – it needs time to work on the skin. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk to your pediatrician. Zinc oxide, a very effective sun block, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, top of the ears and on the shoulders. Use a sun protection factor of at least 15. Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.

Sunning tips

The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours. Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days. If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

Beach tips

Drink plenty of water, noncarbonated and nonalcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Never swim alone and stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.

Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.

Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.


 

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