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Children's Health Protection

Be Cool and Practice Sun Safety

Did you know that you will spend more time in the sun as a child than as an adult? While you enjoy those carefree sunny days, be careful. Too much sun can be bad news!

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause sunburns in the short term, but also may lead to long-term health problems such as skin cancer and eye problems. Too much sun can also cause you to look older than you are. We’re talking all sorts of wrinkles, bags, and sags! Just one or two blistering sunburns as a child may double the risk of some skin cancers as an adult. Ouch!

You’re still not safe if it’s fake. Artificial sources of UV light, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, can also damage the unprotected eyes and skin.

Here’s a cool idea! Learn more about sun safety and share it with your family and friends.

  1. Dress the part. Wear hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
  2. Block it out! Use sun screen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15 or more.
  3. Keep babies out of direct sunlight.
  4. Limit the time you spend in the midday sun. The sun is most intense between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  5. Does your local newspaper publish the UV Index? If so, you can easily check it and take special care to follow sun safety steps when the UV Index is 5 or higher.

Organize a sun-safe hat game. Have many types of hats to choose from and rank them from best to worst by testing how well they protect you from the sun. Talk about the good and bad things about each hat.

Call your local television and radio stations, and ask if the weather man or woman (also called a meteorologist) can give you a tour of the weather center and discuss UV radiation. List questions you’d like to ask here.

Organize an Arbor Day (the last Friday in April) event at your school or community center. Plant young trees that will provide shade for the community when they are fully grown. List school or community leaders who could help you organize the event.

Start a sun safety poster contest to show the steps we should take to protect ourselves, family, and friends. Display the winning poster and all the other drawings collected at a community or school event. List the things or ideas that the poster should show in order to win the contest.


For more information, visit EPA’s Sun Wise Web site at www.epa.gov/sunwise.

Learn more about the UV Index at www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html .

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