Summer is great and all, but you know what's a real pain in the butt? Having to put sunscreen on our kids every morning. If yours are anything like mine -- they act like having it applied is a mild form of torture. But as much of a hassle as it is to add lubing up our kiddos into our morning routines, and as much as they moan and gripe about it -- we have to do it.
Actually, forget limiting it to summer -- no matter what time of year it is, if your kid is going to be outside, he needs to wear sunscreen. (Yes, even in winter. And on cloudy days. The sun is a sneaky little sucker.)
Because it's nothing short of irresponsible to send your child off into the sun's damaging rays if he's not protected. I mean, what kind of mom are you if your kid comes home from school or camp looking like a lobster -- all because you couldn't take the extra five minutes to put sunscreen on him?
There's no other way of putting it -- sunburns really suck. For more than one reason. Sure, they're uncomfortable, unsightly, and make it even more unbearable to be outdoors once you have one, but they're also a leading cause of skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, all it takes is one sunburn resulting in blisters as a kid -- and your risk of developing melanoma down the road doubles. Did you hear that? DOUBLES.
As extreme as it sounds, choosing to forgo sunscreen could wind up being a matter of life and death, so you have to put it on your kids every day. You just have to. Because if you don't, and your child gets a bad sunburn and ultimately gets cancer as an adult, it's basically your fault, right?
I know, I know -- we can't control every single minute of our kids' days, and even if we send them out the door each morning covered from head to toe with all kinds of SPF love, it's not like it's going to last all day or anything. The American Melanoma Foundation recommends putting it on in the morning, 30 minutes before they're going to be exposed to the sun, and after that, it needs to be reapplied after swimming or excessive perspiration.
And I guess that means we need to constantly stress the importance of reapplying sunscreen throughout the day to our kids, but come on -- how many of them are actually going to remember to do it? As far as my little guy is concerned, I could probably tell him 1,000 times that he needs to put more on after he's all hot and sweaty -- but I know he's not going to do it. He won't remember. He'll be all caught up in whatever kind of fun thing he's doing, and getting the sunscreen out of his backpack will be the last thing on his mind.
And I know most camps, schools, day cares, etc., either won't put sunscreen on your kid or simply aren't allowed to -- but can't they at least throw in a reminder now and then to make sure our children are protected? I'm not saying they should be fully responsible or anything, because it's our job to do the initial application. But a small, "Ok, kids! Time to put on a little more sunscreen!" after a jaunt in the pool really isn't too much to ask. (Or is it?)
Bottom line -- if you don't make sunscreen an everyday thing, especially this summer, you probably need to get your priorities in line. But maybe if everyone, including parents, teachers, camp counselors, etc., stressed the importance of it, there would be a lot less kids going home at the end of the day burnt to a crisp and totally miserable.
Do you put sunscreen on your kids every day?
Image via Fifth World Art/Flickr