Playing in the sun is a rite of passage for childhood. However, sun safety tips are important because sun damage can have painful and even long-term consequences for children:
The CDC notes unprotected skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes, and sun damage can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. In fact, it only takes one or two severe sunburns in childhood to double the risk of skin cancer later in life, and most of the skin cancer risk adults face stems back to sun exposure from childhood. Since most children play on a playground for more than 15 minutes at a time, it’s important to think of sun safety.
One or two severe burns increases risk of skin cancer
The sun can cause painful blisters and burns. It can cause peeling, and for young children with severe burns, it can even cause flu-like symptoms.
The sun can cause heat exhaustion and overheating. Excessive sweating can cause heat rash. When the body can no longer sweat enough to cool itself down, children may be vulnerable to heatstroke and other serious conditions.
Sun exposure can cause eye damage.
Sunlight can heat up surfaces, causing discomfort and even burns.
Children may not realize they need to get out of the sun and may not recognize the early signs of sun damage. It’s up to adults to ensure children are well-protected.
Children are active, even in hot weather, putting them at greater risk of sun exposure and heat-related illness.
A little sun protection now can help children avoid serious consequences, painful burns and even potentially fatal conditions later in life. Sun safety is an important part of overall playground safety for kids. You can’t have a fully safe playground unless it’s also reducing the risk of sun damage for children.