Sun Protection Clothing

01/23/2013 22:08

As parents we protect our children from all sorts of things.  We are careful with the other kids they hang out with; we make sure that they only watch good, clean TV shows and movies. We make sure that they are eating healthy, nutritious meals and we limit their junky snacks."Put on that seatbelt and buckle it tight, and whatever you do, don't run with the scissors!"We teach them to take care of their bodies with good hygiene, brushing teeth, keeping clean, to limit diseases and infections. More at Sun Protection Clothing. In the winter, we are careful to make sure they dress warmly with snow suits, snow booties, gloves, hats and scarves.  But when it comes to protecting them from the dangers of too much sun we seem to fall down on the job.  We send our children out to play in the summer with only a bathing suit, or shorts and a t- shirt, seemingly unaware that we are damaging their long term health.Consider these facts:1.  If your child has a full unprotected day in the sun and obtains a blistering sunburn, that one
occurrence will more than double their chance of developing melanoma--the deadliest form of skin cancer--later in life.  Five or more mild sunburns will double their risk of developing any type of skin cancer.2.  Using sun protection throughout a child's early life will effectively lower their risk of skin cancer by up to 80%.3.  Most children are not routinely examined for skin cancer lesions, and yet the cases of pediatric melanoma have increased by 100% in the last twenty years.4.  The skin around the eyes of children is especially vulnerable to sun damage.  This skin is thin and burns easily.  Also there is more chance of damage to the eye itself in children, as the lens is still developing and does not adequately protect the retina. And yet most children do not own a pair of sunglasses!When our children show signs of getting red from the sun, we tend to throw on a t-shirt thinking that will protect them from a sunburn.  But scientists have found that a cotton t-shirt at best affords only protection equivalent to SPF 7; and if that shirt should become wet the sun protection factor drops to about 4.  Instead we should be throwing on a cool, lightweight, attractive sun protective shirt that provides an SPF of 30 or more.So just what is Sun Protective Clothing? Researchers have developed new fabrics with embedded compounds that give the clothing an inherent protective quality against the sun. These high tech fabrics can give clothes a SPF of anywhere from a low of 30 up to a high of SPF 100. There is now even a universal guide for labeling sun protective fabric -- the UPF value. On many clothes you will see a UPF value; this is the total Ultraviolet Protection Factor. This UPF value makes it easier for the consumer to compare the protective ability of one article of clothing to another.  UPF, SPF it gets somewhat confusing.  Just know that SPF is similar to the value you would see on a sun screen product, whereas UPF includes the fabric's ability to block out both the Ultraviolet Type A and B rays.We need to teach our children early the importance of protecting themselves from the harmful rays of the sun.  They need to know that they can enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle outdoors without endangering their skin and eyes.  The sun protection habits can be taught and instilled at an early age, just as we teach them to brush their hair and teeth daily!Here are some good tips to follow for your child's outdoor health:1.  Always make sure they are wearing a sunscreen when outdoors.  A sunscreen of SPF 15 is the absolute minimum that should be worn.  Apply it before they go outside and reapply it often if they are sweating or swimming.2.  Train your kids to wear sun protective clothing with built in SPF values.  A rash guard like the surfers wear will allow your little beach bum to feel extra trendy and "cool" and will give added protection from the suns radiation of up to SPF 50. Also important are hats and ventilated SPF pants if you will be outside for long periods of time.3.  Whatever you do, don't forget to protect your child's eyes.  Find kid sized sunglasses that block 100% of the UVA/UVB rays of the sun.  Large wraparound ones will help protect the fragile skin in the eye area.  Make sure the glasses are plastic and not glass and are impact resistant in case your little one should fall.It is essential that we spend time outdoors for our physical and mental health.  It is especially important that our children are outdoors, playing and exercising their bodies. The sun actually can contribute to our well being by providing us with doses of Vitamin D. But we must start our children early in the preventative health  aspects of skin and eye care.  Our motto has become, "by all means, enjoy the outdoors, just do so wisely."  Click here for details.