Summer comes and along with the change of weather come many obligations to protect the family from the damaging rays of the sun. As much as we love the hot weather, we don’t want to pay the price. I remember a time when you didn’t even use sun screen so you could get a nice amber tan. It was a sign of health and everyone wanted a deep glow. Tanned skin is also a preventative in itself from burning. It was like having a coating on the skin. It just took so long to acquire. Things have certainly changed. You don’t even want the kids in the sun at all. Their pasty little bodies can’t handle a modicum of exposure.

This is hard to do when they are playing in the yard, swimming in the community pool, or bathing in the ocean at the beach. It spoils the fun to have to keep the kids under complete wraps. You have to make compromises all the time. But there are things you can do so they can enjoy the sunshine and stay protected. Sunscreen with a strong SPF is tops on the list. The rule of thumb, the higher the SPF number, the better, especially if there is going to be direct exposure. Remember always that water causes a reflection that aggravates burning. You can always use zinc oxide on their vulnerable little noses. Products that are waterproof are great as they don’t have to be constantly reapplied. Teach your kids to keep the sunscreen handy and to learn how to use it wisely. It should be a normal part of summer life. It only takes one or two really bad sunburns to damage skin permanently.

There are other items in my summer arsenal not the least of which is a big striped beach umbrella. We can put it up and take it down in seconds. It isn’t heavy and fits right in the van. There is no other way to get absolute shade at the park or the beach. You just have to reposition it from time to time as the sun moves in the sky. You see more and more of them these days as everyone gets the picture about skin health. Kids like to enjoy their lunch without too much reflection from the sun and they play games and use their cell phones beneath them for better visibility. The sun has an intense glare requiring sun glasses for kids, which they often loathe wearing. They are okay with hats and protective clothing as they can still go in the water. Certain fabrics now act as sun screens for the body. Normal clothing does not such as tee shirts and bathing suit coverups. Moms have to be vigilant nowadays in any way they can. Sun damage is dangerous and permanent and it spoiled the whole idea of beach outings when we found out. The consequences of too much sun are carried for years into one’s life. Beware.