Parents instinctively protect their children from all kinds of dangers. You know the list – Don’t run with scissors, look both ways before crossing the street, don’t talk to strangers. Yet when it comes to the sun, parents often forget the silent skin assassin. Youngsters have more sensitive skin than adults and require extra attention to avoid getting burned. Besides, no one wants to see their child experience the painful 1-2 punch of bad sunburn and a ruined vacation. Here are five tips for keeping your kids safe from the summer sun and making sure they have a Myrtle Beach vacation filled with happy memories:
- Sunscreen is the best thing you can do to protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays, and one of the biggest mistakes parents make at the beach. With so many people in your party, it’s tempting to buy a cheap jumbo bottle for all to use, but the beach requires some heavy duty, waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF. Children require frequent coatings since even waterproof brands can wash off with repeated dips in the pool and ocean. Use SPF-50 or higher for younger children and SPF-30 or higher for teens and adults, and don’t be shy about reapplying. Also give your kids a good once-over during reapplication to see if you’ve missed any spots.
- Beach umbrellas provide a nice shady spot to take a break from direct sunlight. A recent change in beach laws in the city limits of Myrtle Beach banned the larger canopies and tents that gave off more shade, but beach umbrellas are still allowed. Be sure to get a sturdy one that can handle the ocean breeze, and one that allows for adjustable tilt between the morning and afternoon sun. Pack some beach snacks and drinks and make it a rule that they must be consumed under the umbrella, encouraging your kids to get out from under the giant heat lamp in the sky, if only for a few minutes.
- Take a few breaks in the hotel room, especially during the heat of the day between noon and 2 p.m. That’s a good time to have lunch and relax in the air conditioning before heading back to the beach. That’s also a good time to reapply sunscreen and examine each child for signs of sunburn or dehydration, which can also have a negative impact on the skin. It’s important that they drink plenty of water or sports drinks with electrolytes instead of sugary sodas. Proper hydration is good for their skin and their overall health.
- Many kids get covered up in sunscreen on every exposed piece of skin but two – their upper and lower lips. More sensitive than the rest of the skin on your body, the lips are particularly prone to sunburn, from cracked and dried skin to painful fever blisters. This is an easy one to avoid with the purchase of a tube of lip balm, preferably one designed for protection from the sun. Be sure to keep it in a beach bag or purse and out of the sun or you will end up with a gooey mess and burned lips.
- Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Aftercare is important to making sure your kids can go back in the sun the next day, and for the whole week. After their nightly baths, apply an aloe-based and non-perfumed lotion or moisturizer to help restore the natural oils in their skin. If all the precautions fail, ask a pharmacist for recommendations on medicated creams and ointments.