Teach Your Children to be Sun Smart at Camp This Summer

Long Hours Outdoors Increase Risk for Skin Cancer

New York, NY (June 3, 2008) - Sports and other outdoor activities are daily events for children attending camp. If children are not properly protected, the time they spend outdoors can lead to painful sunburns, premature aging and skin cancer.

"Just one blistering sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing melanoma later in life," said Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "That risk can be vastly reduced by following some simple sun safety guidelines."

To keep children protected from the harmful rays while at camp, the Foundation recommends training children in sun safety. UV protection should be a regular part of the lessons learned at home and at school. Kids should be well versed about the dangers of the sun and how to protect against them. Here are a few lessons to review before sending campers off this summer:

  • Instruct children how to apply sunscreen before going outside. An SPF 15+ sunscreen (water-resistant formulas are especially good) needs to be used regularly. Teach children to apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before outdoor activities, and reapply every 2 hours and right after swimming or heavy sweating. Remember to tell kids not to forget those hard to miss spots, such as the back of ears and neck as well as the tops of feet and hands.
  • Cover up with sun-protective clothing. Ideal sun-safe clothing includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. But since campers typically wear only T-shirts and shorts, they should take some extra precautions:
    1. Wear T-shirts with a dense weave in dark or bright colors.
    2. Wear at least a baseball cap.
    3. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses.
    4. Wear long shorts.
    5. Apply an SPF 15+ sunscreen to all exposed areas.
  • Encourage kids to seek the shade when outdoors. While large shade trees provide some protection, tell children to find a pavilion where they can seek shade during outdoor activities. Ideally, most activities should be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon since UV is most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

With proper guidance, children can learn to protect themselves and enjoy summer fun without sacrificing the health of their skin. For additional information, visit www.skincancer.org.