Experts are urging Irish parents to take 'extreme care' to protect kids from sun
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When it comes to soaking up the rays, the Marie Keating Foundation cancer support group have called for parents to be “extra vigilant” in keeping their children out of the sun during the hot weather.
Helen Forristal, director of nursing services at the foundation, said infants and children should, in fact, be kept out of the sun between 11am and 3pm (when the sun is highest in the sky, and therefore at its most dangerous) and factor 50 sunscreen should be applied every two hours to ensure no spots are missed due to sweating, clothes rubbing or swimming.
Extra care should be taken with babies under six months as their skin contains very little melanin, the pigment which gives skin, hair and eyes their colour and which also provides protection from the sun.
“Often parents put their children in t-shirts to protect them from the sun, and while we do promote ensuring that everyone is properly covered from the sun, it’s important to note that light-coloured, open weave fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun and wet t-shirts that children wear in the pool or the sea, offer even less protection,” she said.
“If possible, ensure children are always covered up wearing long-sleeved, closely woven clothing, preferably in dark colours. A great idea for the pool or by the sea is to use those UV long sleeved swim suits to ensure their skin is adequately protected when swimming and keep their heads covered with a sun hat.”