Carrie Bickmore's tips for your kids. Read them before you go outside
Most of my childhood was spent in Perth. I love being outdoors and being physically active has always been important to me, but the strong WA sun mixed with just enough teen foolishness meant I learnt the importance of sun protection the hard way a couple of times! Now I’m a stickler for sunscreen and have been for years. It’s now a big part of mine and my son’s everyday routine.
But let’s admit explaining to a child that something invisible could harm them is tricky! Most kids are taught about sun protection from a young age at school, for example, no hat no play, but to enforce the necessity of good habits in the home, we use a nifty game that involves drawing a picture with the sunscreen before rubbing it in - this way he also feels a sense of responsibility for mum’s skin, as well as his own.
I recently learnt from Dr Kerryn Greive at SunSense that up to 80% of lifetime sun exposure can occur before the age of 18¹ so this has only further inspired me to take a very hands-on approach with Ollie and his sun protection. It’s all about forming good habits. You have to teach children to understand the need to protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays.
My Top Tips for iVillage Parents
- Even when you’re wearing sunscreen, I’d always advise mums with children to avoid prolonged sun exposure particularly when UV levels are the highest (10am to 3pm). Hit the beach early and miss the crowds then find some proper shade to have lunch and play some more
- It’s essential to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after every swim, towelling dry, exercise or activities where you might perspire. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, a hat at all times and drink plenty of water
- The more the family talks about being sun smart, the more receptive their children will be. Making sunscreen a daily requirement for outdoor play year round is a good place to start
- Skin can be susceptible to UV damage year round. On cloudy days up to 80% of the sun’s UV radiation can penetrate through light cloud cover² so a daily sunscreen is an absolute must
- Apply a generous layer of SPF 30+ sunscreen, like SunSense’s Sport to the little ones before sending them to school
- I’m a big advocate of injecting fun into anything that a child struggles with. We all remember being lathered in zinc-y sunscreen that made your eyes sting as a child – with the great sunscreens available today, it’s unnecessary trauma! Make the process of sun protection fun if you can.
From 9 October to 5 December 2012, the SunSense UV Photobus and their skincare consultants will travel to 21 locations throughout QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA offering free skin analysis using UV camera technology and complimentary sun protection products to take home, tailored to your specific skin type and lifestyle. For dates and locations near you, visit the Sunsense website.
Carrie Bickmore is the ambassador for SunSense sunscreen and she has used the technology in the Photobus to have her UV picture taken (that's the result she's holding up in the main photo).