Summer vacations are where great family memories are made – whether it’s going to a lake, playing on a beach or even visiting a neighbourhood pool. Having fun in the sun is where it’s at.

Sunshine is great for kids and adults. It boosts your body’s vitamin D supply, which helps with things like calcium levels and immune system functioning.

However, it is important to keep sun safety in mind when you’re enjoying the rays. Too much sun can be dangerous and lead to issues such as heat stroke, skin aging, eye damage and skin cancer. Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year and one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is skin cancer.

The good news is there are lots of ways that you can be safe in the sun with the whole family this summer! Here are some great sun safety tips.

Start with Sunscreen
This is probably one of the most important things you can do when it comes to sun safety for the kids and yourself. Health Canada recommends at least SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen for kids and to apply it at least 15 minutes before you head outside for some fun. Kids aren’t known for sitting still so try to use an application that works best for both of you. You can get sprays, lotions or even ‘face sticks’ to make sure you don’t miss a spot! Don’t forget to get those ears, hands and feet and re-apply every two hours or earlier if you’re hitting the pool.

Cover Up with Clothes and Sunglasses
It’s always an exciting time of year when you get to pick out some new summer fashion for the family – and it’s a great way to stay safe in the sun!

Sun or bucket hats, caps and cool shades are great ways to protect your kids from those rays. Even though it’s tempting to wear something like a T-shirt and shorts, try to choose clothes that cover up arms and legs. Just make sure they’re breathable like long skirts or loose long-sleeved shirts or pants. It’s recommended that you don’t use sunscreen on babies under 6 months, so make sure you keep them totally covered with clothing and in the shade.

Plan Around the Sun’s Schedule (If You Can)
Try to plan your family activities around certain times of the day to make sure you’re avoiding harmful UV rays. UV rays tend to be strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Not only is it safer for the kids, but chances are places like pools and beaches will be quieter around that time as well! If you can’t avoid these times – just be extra diligent about your sun safety.

Find That Perfect Shady Spot
Seek out that shade! This is one of the best places for kids to enjoy the summer weather while staying safe from the sun. You can make your own shade with an umbrella or an anti-UV play tent or use nature’s own shade under a tree. Don’t forget that just because it’s cloudy or you’ve found some shade, it doesn’t’ mean you’re completely protected from the sun. Even if you’re in the shade, still wear sunscreen and keep an eye out for those reflective surfaces that can send those rays at you like water, concrete or even sand.

Stay Hydrated in the Hot Weather
Keeping your body hydrated is essential year-round but it’s especially important when you and your kids are out in the heat of the sun! When you’re running around in the sun, you’re sweating and losing water so it’s key to re-hydrate. Even if your kids say they don’t feel thirsty, make sure they get their fluids.

Know How to Treat Sun Burns
Even when you try your best, sometimes kids – and adults for that matter - can still get burnt. There are a few ways that you can treat sunburns to get some relief.

  • Take a cool dip in a bath, ocean or pool
  • Use a cold compress (but do not apply ice directly to the skin)
  • Apply moisturizer or aloe
  • Drink lots of water

We all love having fun in the sun. We hope that these tips can help you and the whole family enjoy some summer adventures together while staying safe!