6 Common Sun Myths Every Parent Should Know About

We’re pleased to share this blog written by Vision Direct about sun myths!

Did you know that children are more vulnerable to UV as everyone else? Or that if your child has blue eyes they need take extra care in the sun? Many underestimate the level of protection their children require when outdoors. Just a few serious sunburns and exposure to the sun can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life as well as serious eye conditions.

Your children don’t have to be on the beach, at the pool or on vacation to get too much sun. They need skin protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays anytime they are outdoors.

As we head into the final days of British summer, it’s time to debunk seven of the most common myths about the sun and UV protection. By dodging these myths, we can all do the best to protect our children from dangerous UV rays.

Myth #1: Young people are just as vulnerable to UV as everyone else.

Reality: Children under the age of five years are most vulnerable to sunlight. This is because as you get older, the lens becomes more yellow and naturally absorbs more UV to protect the retina. Because the effects of UV are cumulative, exposure at a young age can result in problems later in life. This is why it’s important for children to wear sunglasses.

Myth #2: Your children don’t need to worry about wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day.

Reality: UV rays can get through clouds and they only reduce the amount of UV by around 10 per cent. Overcast days can still leave your children vulnerable to high levels of UV exposure so it’s important they wear sunglasses even on cloudy days.

Myth #3: Children with blue eyes have the same UV risk as everyone else.

Reality: Children with blue eyes have less protective melanin pigment in their iris, making them more at risk to UV exposure and more susceptible to damage.

Myth #4: In the UK, UV exposure is highest in the summer.

Reality: Regardless of the season, exposure is the same year round.

Myth #5: Your child’s eyes are just as sensitive to UV light as their skin.

Reality: Your children’s eyes are ten times more sensitive to UV light than their skin. Just as UV rays can burn their skin, they can also cause damage to your child’s eyes and their eyes are much more susceptible to damage than skin.

Myth #6: UV damage to your child’s eyes can be reversed.

Reality: Sun damage to the eyes is cumulative, meaning the lasting damage can slowly build up and cause children problems in the future.

Be a sun safe parent!

Here are some helpful tips for protecting your children from the sun year-round:

  • Cover up. GIve your children clothing that will protect them from the sunshine. Tightly woven fabric will offer the best level of protection. Also, clothing that has been certified under international standards will come with information on its UV protection factor.
  • Seek shade. Your children are at most risk during midday, so it’s best to keep them indoors at this time. If this is not possible, they keep them under a tree or an umbrella.
  • Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can protect your child’s eyes from UV rays which could potentially lead to cataracts later in life. Always check for the CE mark, which ensures the sunglasses comply to the European Standard on safety.
  • Apply sunscreen. Using sunscreen that has at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection every time your child is outdoors. Your child will have the best level or protection if this is given 30 minutes before going outdoors.

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