1004 Carondelet Drive, Suite 310
Kansas City, Missouri 64114

icon phone816.942.KIDS (5437)childrens health network

As we head into the summer solstice and enjoy our warm weather activities such as boating and swimming, I want to remind everyone the importance of skin and eye protection.  There is some excellent information on www.skincancer.org.  I have summarized some tips below along with links for extra information.
 
Children under age 10 are at a high risk for skin and eye damage from UVR (ultraviolet radiation.) The skin on their eyelids and around their eyes is more delicate and vulnerable than adult skin. "And until about age 10, the lens of a child's eye is clear, allowing greater solar penetration and thus greater UVR-induced ocular changes," explains Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, professor and vice chair of dermatology, University of Houston. "After that, the lens starts to become more opaque, providing better protection." Please click here for a guide on purchasing sunglasses for your child.
 
Believe it or not, our first line of defense against the sun is our clothing!  It protects us by absorbing or blocking much the sun’s harmful rays. The more skin you cover, the better. A long-sleeved shirt covers more skin than a t-shirt, and likewise, long pants protect more skin than shorts.  UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. A shirt with a UPF of 50, for example, allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin.  A wide brimmed hat, over 3 inch brim, is also a good way to protect your face.  Click here to read more on clothing for the sun.

A note about sunscreen.  A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more should do a good job of protecting you against UVB (ultraviolet B radiation that causes sunburn.) SPF — or Sun Protection Factor — is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.  However, sunscreen will only last 2 hours maximum and needs frequent reapplication.  Please click here for more information on sunscreen.

Have a great summer!

– Dr. Mary Jo Flint

Sun Safety Dos and Don’ts

Baby < 6 months old
DO keep child shaded from the sun.
DON’T use sunscreen.

Children > 6 months old
DO apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure when possible.
DO use sunscreen liberally and remember tops of ears and neck and to reapply after swimming or exercise.
DON’T use sunscreen and DEET-containing bug spray combinations – the sunscreen will need to re-applied but the DEET-containing bug spray should not be re-applied.

Teens
DO apply sun screen even if you are brown from a spray tan.
DON’T use a tanning bed, EVER.

Parents
DO buy sunscreen with UV-A and UV-B protection with an SPF of at least 15.
DO check for expiration dates – some sunscreens have ingredients that degrade over time.
DON’T use a sunscreen with ingredients your child is sensitive to.


Children’s Mercy – Cradle Thru College Care
1004 Carondelet Drive, Suite 310  •  Kansas City, Missouri 64114  •  816-942-KIDS (5437)  •  Fax 816-942-4830