It’s HERE! That big yellow light in the sky that feels kinda warm and that melted all the snow is an indication that spring (and eventually summer) is here! Yes, I legitimately just jinxed it for us all, but it can’t snow all year can it? (Apologies in advance if it does indeed snow all year.). That being said, when the sun comes out we all need to start worrying about sunscreen and sunburns and protecting our kids from getting burnt.
May is Melanoma month and I’m not saying this to scare you, but I am saying it from a “whitey shade seeker with a large collection of wide-brimmed hats who applies sunscreen on her kids before they leave for school (and packs them travel sunscreen to take to school)” concerned parent to another. Everyone gets hats and sunscreen, and the kids know better than to fight me with it.
Here are some scary facts to get you in the mood for SUNSCREEN!
It was estimated that in 2017:
– 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
– 1,250 Canadians will die from melanoma skin cancer.
– 4,000 men will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 790 will die from it.
– 3,300 women will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 450 will die from it.
Source: Canadian Cancer Society
Bare with me for a minute, because I could go on and on all day, but this isn’t just a white skinned person disease (although yes, it’s predominately a caucasian illness), people with darker skins are also at risk for skin cancer. Darker skin doesn’t mean you’re immune, in FACT, skin cancer can present differently in people of colour than in Caucasian skin, which is a whole other topic but you can find articles here and here about that.
If you (or your child) have had at least one blistering sunburn in your lifetime you have a higher risk of developing melanoma (source).
A recent study found that Alberta is on par with warmer countries in terms of skin cancer risk. Many of this can be attributed to our need to bust out of the house when the temperatures are warmer, that our cold (and looooong) winters prevent us from skin cancer and our farmers spending those long days out in the sun with no sun protection.
Hug a farmer today and then slather them with sunscreen. It’s the right thing to do.
What’s a mama to do? Easy peasy.
- Wear your sunscreen
- Wear a hat
- Sunglasses, they’re important too
- Shade seek
- Cover your skin.
I’m not saying that you should become a sun hermit like me, although I’m counting on this to give me the most amazing skin when I’m 80, but, you need to look after your biggest organ …
…which is your skin.
What about your kids?
The rules are a little different when it comes to applying sunscreen to babies. According to the Government of Canada, do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months (unless directed to do so by your Dr.), their skin is much more delicate and sensitive than ours. Keep babies out of direct sunlight to prevent sunburns, overheating and dehydration. Little babies need hats, shade and fluids when they’re in the heat.
Kids can and should wear sunscreen, and a hat, and sunglasses when outside. I know it can be a real pain in the backside to get a toddler to keep a hat on, so I have no tips there, but keep trying to keep that hat on, and know that one day, in a very very long time from now they will never thank you for it, but you did a good job keeping them sun safe. The suns rays (UV rays) are the strongest between 11 & 3, and it’s best to limit exposure to UV rays during this time. Again, I know, these are the times that kids should be outside playing and having fun. I’m just letting you know.
Skin cancer is a preventable disease and with summer around the corner (fingers crossed) as we send the kids outside to play and ride their bikes and climb trees, can we just slather a bunch of sunscreen on them and pop a hat on their head before they head out?