Overcast   70.0F  |  Forecast »

Sun Safety 101

Henry Ford doctor gives tips on protecting your kids from summer rays

Fun in the sun shouldn't mean increasing your child's chances for developing skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, your child's lifetime risk for skin cancer may double after a single serious sunburn. Prevention is vital to avoid the harmful effects of overexposure.

"It's important to prepare for sun exposure, especially if you plan to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, or during the hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest," said Aliya Kohler M.D., a Family Medicine specialist with the Henry Ford Medical Center in Bloomfield Hills. Kohler cares for infants, children, adults and elderly patients.

Aliya Kohler M.D., Family Medicine specialist with the Henry Ford Medical Center in Bloomfield Hills

The American Cancer Society reminds us to use sunscreen, cover up and seek shade. Dr. Kohler adds that skin needs protection even on cloudy days. She said, "It is important to protect your skin because ultraviolet (UV) rays can pass through the clouds and cause sunburn," Dr. Kohler said. "Also, UV rays can be reflected off surfaces like sand, cement, and water."

Dr. Kohler notes that children are at a higher risk than adults for sunburn.

"Children are usually unaware of the risks of sunburn and less likely to use preventive measures," she said. Dr. Kohler recommends using two types of sun protection, such as shade or clothing, like hats and long-sleeve shirts, plus sunscreen to reduce overexposure. "Reapply sunscreen after sweating, rubbing the skin, or swimming," Dr. Kohler advises.

Babies are particularly prone to overexposure. "The safety of sunscreen has not been tested in infants younger than 6 months, and sunscreens are not usually recommended for this age group," Dr. Kohler said. Instead, Dr. Kohler encourages caregivers to use hats, sunglasses and shade to protect infants from the sun. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, she said, "You may apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to small areas of the face and the back of hands."

Sensitive skin or "baby" formulas are recommended.

Recently, research has suggested that using sunscreens reduce levels of vitamin D, an important vitamin used for building healthy bones and teeth.

"The body uses sunlight that shines on the skin to make vitamin D," Dr. Kohler explained. "The amount of sunscreen most people apply produces only a modest reduction in vitamin D levels. For individuals who are not vitamin D deficient or at risk for vitamin D deficiency, no reduction in sunscreen use is necessary," she said.

To make an appointment with Dr. Kohler or a Henry Ford doctor in your area, log onto henryford.com, or for a same-day appointment, call 1-800-HENRYFORD.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Recent findings published in Pediatrics show that nearly 40 percent of parents make measuring errors for their kid's medicine. Why is this happening and what can you do to prevent it?

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Beat vacation boredom with these four cool ideas from blogs, including Popsicle holders, printable sewing cards, jellyfish handprint bookmarks and more.

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement