A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.
~ Anne Bronte
We are an outdoor family. My husband and I took a stroll through the garden in the early morning light this morning, checking on the plants as mother hens fuss over their chicks.
The boys talked eagerly at breakfast of afternoon plans for a bike ride and water play at our local AMBUCS Sprayground.
Once the boys were off to school, my youngest wanted to ride her own bike up and down the sidewalk, an activity usually reserved for the heat of the day, now enjoyed with ten times the excitement because of her large shadow cast in the slanting rays of the rising sun.
Maybe we're a photosynthetic clan. But we do love to be out in the sunshine -- from its rising clear through to sunset.
It's the time of year I have to remind myself about sun safety. That first sunburn of the year can be painful -- best to avoid it altogether with a little prevention.
If you're headed out with your crew, these tips might save you a little hurt later on:
Keep your eye on the clock - The sun is strongest from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Early morning and later afternoon sun are less damaging to the skin.
Stock up on Sunscreen - Did you know that your sunscreen has an expiration date? It is best to purchase sunscreen in small bottles that can be replaced frequently. We choose sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor [SPF] 15 or above. For fair-skinned children or babies, I have gone as high as 50. (To find out your lotion's sunburn protection, do this calculation: Average time to sunburn with no sunscreen X SPF factor = Average time of protection with sunscreen. So, if you usually burn in 10 minutes and use SPF 15, you should be protected for 150 minutes before burning.)
Reapply, reapply, reapply - The SPF calculation works only in the best of circumstances. Several factors can weaken your sun protection. Water, sweat, and rubbing skin on clothing are a few common ones. It's best to reapply sunscreen every hour, just to be sure it's doing its job, especially if you're going to be outside for hours on end.
Watch those tender places - Pay extra attention to protecting areas of the body prone to sunburn. Shoulders, cheeks and noses need extra protection. So do the tops of the ears (for boys with short hair or girls with ponytails) and the tops of the feet (when feet get sunburned -- ouch!)
Let clothes do the trick - Boys and girls can wear rash guards as a part of their swimsuits to protect their bodies from getting too much sun. Putting a hat on babies or older children can help shield their faces without having to douse them in SPF 700. Large t-shirts, hooded towels, or bathing suit cover-ups can be great ways to cover up when taking a break from the swimming pool.
Go easy on the eyes - Sunglasses are a summertime must. Most drug stores and department stores are starting to sell them right now. Be sure to check the tag -- it will tell you the UVA/UVB protection they will give your and your child's eyes.
Now... if I can just remember these tips myself! One of today's errands is to pack my 'beach bag' with all our supplies, so I'm ready to head out on a moment's notice. When the weather is this beautiful, it pays to be prepared. In it, I'll bring our sun care essentials, snacks, water, hand wipes, and a beach towel or two.
You can never be too ready to head out in the sunshine!
- Midwest Mom