The sun is shining, summer is here. It is perfect weather to get outside with your baby and young children.
But wait, I have to keep them safe and free from harmful sun rays! What does a mother do to protect her child from the elements?
Well, there is a lot you can do, most of which doesn't require anything more than what you have in your home.
Did you know that there is no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancers? "Rates of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the FDA itself – have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer" (EWG - Skin Cancer on the Rise). Finding alternative ways to keep your children shaded and out of the sun is the ultimate form of sun protection.
Here are some simple tips to keep you and your children safe this summer:
* Wear long clothing. Merino wool and organic cotton are perfect materials for summer. Lightweight and breathable (yes wool will actually keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It also wicks moisture away keeping you dry).
* Use a portable tent or shade cover when sitting outside or heading to the beach. Canadian Tire has these great pop up tents. Affordable, compact and easy to store.
* Find shade with trees, pergolas, or other natural shade providers. At home, I make sure that important play areas are covered in shade for high peak times. Our sandbox is in the shade under a large tree for most of the day and we set up our splash pool in the shade as well. A pergola over a play area can also work very easily.
* Plan your outings around the sun so that you are not outside in peak times. Early mornings and later afternoons are best.
* Use protective eye wear such as sunglasses. Babiators sunglasses are made with flexible rubber and offer a free replacement pair if they are lost or broken (just be sure to register your glasses within 30 days of purchase!).
* Bring along a wide brim hat that covers the entire head. These wonderful "Grow with Me" hats from Vancouver company Twinklebelle ($25 in store) are adjustable and feature 50+ UPF protection. They come in size 0-9 mths, 9-24 mths, and 2-12 years.
If you must spend time in the direct sun, be sure to choose a safe, natural based sunscreen. Green Beaver and Substance are both Canadian natural sunscreens are rated extremely well in the EWG Skin Deep Database. (If you haven't been on this database I highly suggest checking it out. It offers ratings for a wide range of body care products based on ingredients and rated on toxicity). Check out their Hall of Shame to find out if the sunscreen you are using is toxic to your and your child's body.
* Natural sunscreens act as a physical barrier on your skin. Conventional sunscreens such as Coppertone, Banana Boat, Aveeno, etc use chemical ingredients which get easily absorbed into the skin. To learn more about the concerns with chemical ingredients, visit this page here.
* Spray sunscreens can be inhaled and are the most dangerous to be using on your and your child's body.
* Sunscreens above 30 SPF are not any more beneficial and use their high ratings as a marketing strategy to make you think that their sunscreen in safer. Read more about high SPF HERE and why it is not necessary.
* Ingredients to AVOID: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
* Natural sunscreens use zinc oxide (a mineral) as their active ingredient. Though still not 100% safe, zinc oxide is the safest sun protection ingredient on the market. The zinc oxide particles do not penetrate the skin and do not get absorbed into the body making it a safer alternative to chemical sunscreens which penetrate the skin.
* Natural sunscreens are a physical barrier which means that in order for them to be working you have to be able to SEE the sunscreen on your child!
If you have any questions please stop in the shop during our business hours or give us a call at 613 344 0390. We would be more than happy to talk to you about the benefits of choosing a natural sunscreen for your child, and how to keep them safe in the sun!