Sun Gear

While the practice of “sunscreening” is not much fun, I find accessorizing for the sun really enjoyable and rewarding. You might as well rock some cool gear if you are committed to sun protection, right? It is just like pairing shoes, jewelry, a purse, a belt, or any other accessory. Sun protective gear has become really attractive for adults and kids. I have found that accessorizing with colorful, quality items goes a long way in motivating my 18-month-old, Liam, to keep his gear on.

Hats and Shades

Liam is particularly motivated when I am fully accessorized for the sun, too. For instance, I wear a navy blue or brown, wide-brimmed Goorin Brothers hatand Liam wears his i play. bucket hat or flap sunhat (which is conveniently adjustable), or his new daddy-approved Goorin Brothers fedora when we are out for an extended period.

Sometimes, Liam sports a colorful trucker hat, depending on his (or my) mood! He and I both wear snazzy, wide-lens, UV-protective shades, as well. Liam’s Babiators are amazing. They are fluorescent orange, virtually indestructible (Liam-tested), and come with a “Lost & Found Guarantee.” The company will replace a lost or broken pair free of charge (you just pay $5.99 for shipping and handling).

I registered Liam’s first pair of fluorescent lime-green Babiators, and when they vanished mysteriously, I replaced them with his present pair. I try to remember that when I’m feeling the heat or wincing from the sun’s glare, Liam is, too, – and he cannot tell me this yet – so I have to protect him.

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Clothing

 

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)  sun-protective clothing works well for everyone in the family, as well. Essentially, UPF is the SPF equivalent, but for clothing instead of skin. I find this clothing particularly helpful with Liam, who sports a fun striped-aqua UPF one-piece suit. He turns heads when he sports that!

You can find fantastic UPF long-sleeved, waterproof shirts with matching swim trunks orsleeves for biking or running purposes. I found mine on Amazon, and you can find cool UPF gear at Coolibar. You will pay a premium for Coolibar technology, but it should last for years, and I believe the protection and peace of mind is well worth some additional bucks.

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Pop Ups and Beach Umbrellas

At the beach, we set up a pop up sun shelter to create some shade and protection, as well as beach umbrellas. Umbrellas are only a partial solution – shelters create more coverage, making them particularly great when you have young kids. But they’re excellent, and in my opinion, essential for all ages. Admittedly, I have enjoyed my share of beach naps lying in our shelter. You may know how that equation goes – booze plus warm air and sand equals glorious NAP!

Car Windows

I love the BRICA sunshades for our car windows. I had seen striking differences between patients’ left and right side of their faces. Can you guess which side generally has more sun damage – dark spots, wrinkling? The left, the driver’s side.

Driving Gloves

I just got myself  pair of 50+ UPF (the highest UPF rating available) driving gloves because I am starting to see some changes on the tops of my hands that I would like to halt..immediately! I have only been wearing them for a few days. My husband laughed at me when he saw me wearing them for the first time, but I really do not care. I would rather preserve (relatively) youthful looking and skin cancer-free hands than continue to drive glove-less. They actually bear resemblance to lifting gloves, though they cover more of the fingers.

Discuss Sun Protection with Caregivers, Teachers, Others with Your Children

I do want to stress that protective gear does not replace sunscreen! I still make sure that my husband, Liam, and I apply sunscreen to exposed skin as I discussed above. Even in the beach shelter, when you may think you are safe, the UV still reaches your skin. Even with that fun, floppy, wide-brimmed hat, UV still hits the face, so I make sure to lather up the family! I’m not always with the family, however, so education goes a long way. Someday, when Liam’s older, he will be in charge of his own skin protection. In the meantime, I have found it crucial to discuss sun protective guidelines with his caregivers. His nanny takes him for walks and to parks, and I am tickled every time I get texted a picture of Liam in his bucket cap and Babiators! Once Liam goes to a formal school, I will be sending a hat, shades, and sunscreen with his backpack.

And I am going to be the parent who tells Liam and his elementary school teachers to be sure he applies sunscreen prior to going outside to play. I am in the process of touring preschools now, and I make sure to inquire about sun protective policy and practices. A school’s enforcement of sunscreen and sun gear is a major criteria.

I remember as a kid not being allowed to wear a hat or sunglasses during recess or outdoor gym classes. In fact, I was not even allowed to bring those items into the school. On top of which, never did a teacher or parent ensure I wore sunscreen prior to going outdoors. That’s a shame, and it seems nuts to me now, but, generally speaking, younger generations know a lot more on the subject. I hope that hats and shades become parts of school and gym uniforms one day. A mom can dream….

Categories: Children's Skincare, Sun Protection

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