Keeping Fit and Healthy

Keeping Fit and Healthy

Reducing your child's risk of skin cancer

by Mildred Dixon

When you think of someone at risk of skin cancer you probably think of someone who's middle aged or elderly. While skin cancer is most commonly diagnosed in those age groups, it's the cumulative result of decades of sun damage. Our skin is exposed to damaging UV radiation from the sun right from babyhood, and every piece of skin damage we receive over our life time increases our risk of skin cancer. Skin health is an important part of family health care, so skin cancer clinics are a great place to get information about protecting your child's skin. Here are five tips you can use now to reduce your child's risk of skin cancer throughout their entire life:

  • Infants need sun protection too

Sunscreen isn't recommended for infants under 6 months, so you'll need to consider other ways to keep them sun-safe. Keep them out of the sun between 11 am to 3 pm when UV radiation is at its most intense. Choosing loose, cotton clothing with a tight knit weave will keep them cool while protecting their delicate sun. Choose a pram with a shade cover to help keep them cool and safe on long walks.

  • Limit sun exposure at daycare and kindergarten

Ask about sun-safe policies when choosing a daycare. Make sure they insist on sun protection such as broad brimmed hats and sunglasses. Find out if they provide sunscreen or if you'll need to provide it. Check any outside areas to see what shade they provide and don't be afraid to ask questions if you're not happy with what you see.

  • Encourage independence in school aged children

As your child heads off to school make sure they're able to apply sunscreen correctly. Check they're using the correct amount and applying it to all exposed skin areas. Find out if they can keep their sunscreen in the classroom and make sure they have a spare in their bag. Most schools insist on a hat for any outdoor play, but emphasise how important this is.

  • Keep an eye on their skin

While skin cancer is thankfully extremely rare in children or teenagers it can occur. Keep an eye on their skin and encourage your children to know their own skin, especially any moles or freckles. If you or your children notice any changes get them reviewed by a professional at one of your local skin cancer clinics or your usual family health care provider.

  • Set a good example

Make sure all the family, including Mum and Dad, use SPF 50 sunscreen every day. Make sure you cover up and follow safe sun guidelines at all times. Discuss why this is important so that they know why it's worth the time. Getting a regular check at a skin cancer clinic will reinforce to your children that skin checks are an essential part of family health care. If your children see you making your skin care a priority they'll be more likely to do it as adults too.


About Me

Keeping Fit and Healthy

Hello. My name is Diana and I am 65 years old. As the years have gone by, I have realised that I need to take better care of my body. As a young woman, I used to spend a lot of time hanging around bars, drinking too much and smoking too many cigarettes. When I finally married, I would sit around in the house all day and eat plates of food. I put on a lot of weight and started to experience a range of health problems. Thankfully, I eventually visited my local health care clinic and received the help I needed to become a healthy human being. I was so pleased with the treatment and I learnt so much that I decided to start a blog.