"Melanoma is one of the two most common cancers in young Americans and children who have had sunburn at an early age," said Dr. LuAnn Labian with the Traverse Area Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic. "They are at almost double the risk for developing melanoma as an adult."
As a parent, is that alarming to hear? Perhaps. But there are ways your can protect your children early on.
Dr. Labian has two main recommendations to prevent sunburn.
Dress infants under six months in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. Dr. Labian said when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
"In Children over six months, the first and best defense is to cover up, wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses, and cotton clothing with a tight weave," said Dr. Labian. "Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m."
Dr. Labian said 90% of skin cancer results from sun exposure, and both UVA and UVB contribute to sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging. Sunburn is caused primarily by UVB rays.
How to pick out Sunscreen: "It should be broad spectrum, protecting against UVA and UVB rays," said Dr. Labian. "The higher the SPF, the better the level of coverage and protection."
Dr. Labian adds that only sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater, including broad spectrum protection, can reduce risk of skin cancer and premature aging
"Water resistant sunscreen is effective 40-80 minutes in water and must be re-applied after swimming," said Dr. Labian. "All sunscreens must be re-applied every two hours."
To learn more about sleep requirements and recommendations for children, click the video above.
If you missed last week's House Call, we discussed ways to get your child on a bedtime routine. Click HERE to learn more. ??
For more information on the Traverse Area Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic. Click HERE or call 231-421-8099.