One of the benefits to camp is that guests get fresh air all day. Instead of being home watching TV or playing video games, guests at Muskoka Woods are swimming, water skiing, playing beach volleyball and connecting with nature. And, while this means they are getting lots of heart-healthy physical activity, it also means they have to be extra careful about being in the sun.
To ensure your child practices the best sun safety this summer at camp, here are some tips to share.
Drink water all day. Sometimes we can forget to rehydrate when we’re having so much fun at camp, but even cloudy days can cause dehydration and heatstroke. Pack a refillable water bottle in your child’s camp gear so they can have it on hand with them at all times. In our household, we love the Yeti bottles because they’re great at keeping water cold, even if left out in the sun, but any refillable water bottle will do.
Apply sunscreen. Often. This is a no-brainer when it comes to sun safety, but what some kids might not realize is that a little dab’ll not do ya. Sunscreen (look for an SPF of at least 30) needs to be applied and reapplied throughout the day as it can wear off through sweating, swimming and daily activity. And, although you can buy sweat-resistant and water-resistant sunscreen, it still needs to be reapplied. Health Canada suggests sunscreen be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside and at least every two hours while you’re outside. Spray-on sunscreen is best for good coverage and ease of application.
Wear UV protective swimwear. Anyone who spends a lot of time in the water can tell you it’s easy to get burned while cooling off in lakes and pools. Wearing a swimsuit with a UPF (ultraviolet protective factor) rating can help block some of the sun’s rays from reaching your body. Look for a UPF rating of 50 or higher to block approximately 98 per cent of the sun’s rays.
Protect your peepers. The sun’s rays can damage our eyes and the sensitive skin that surrounds them, so wearing sunglasses is a must while outside all day. Health Canada suggests buying sunglasses that are close-fitting to help prevent stray light from entering through the sides. Bonus points if you choose a pair that look super cool.
Wear a hat. Don’t assume your child’s hair (even though thick and luxurious) will protect their head against sunburn. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends wearing wide-brimmed hats as they will help cover the neck, head, face and ears better than a baseball cap. Good thing bucket hats are back in style!
Get made in the shade. Lastly, remind your child it’s okay to take breaks and to look for a shady tree or area to seek some solace from the sun. This timeout from the sun’s rays can be all you need to rest and rejuvenate before you’re ready to get back out there for more summer fun!
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.