What is Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) and why is it dangerous?
Being in the sun exposes us to Ultraviolet Radiation [UVR]. Over-exposure to solar UVR can cause sunburn, skin damage, eye damage and an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Due to Australia’s geographical location our country receives high levels of UVR. The risk of a person eventually developing skin cancer is related to the amount of UVR they are exposed to over their lifetime, particularly in childhood.
You can see sunlight and feel infrared radiation (heat), but you cannot see or feel UVR. UVR can be high even on cool and overcast days, so don’t rely on clear skies or high temperatures to determine when you need to protect your child from the sun.
How can I protect my child from UVR?
One of the most convenient forms of protection against UVR is clothing, however not all garments offer sufficient sun protection.
An Ultraviolet Protection Factor [UPF] rating regulated according to Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4399 Sun Protection Classification indicates how effective a fabric is at blocking out solar UVR. The higher the UPF rating the higher the UVR protection.
The UPF rating system used to evaluate clothing is similar to the SPF rating used for sunscreen lotions. For example, a Shady Days polo shirt rated UPF 30 offers the same “very good protection” from the sun as an SPF 30 sunscreen – the only difference being you have to keep re-applying sunscreen!
Why are Shady Days garments different to other children’s clothing?
|UPF Range||Rating UVR Protection Category|
|15, 20||Good protection|
|25, 30, 35||Very good protection|
|40, 45, 50, 50+||Excellent Protection|
Our garment designs take into consideration the recommendations of SunSmart, the Cancer Council of Victoria’s internationally recognised skin cancer prevention program. As such, we have gone to great lengths to ensure the designs provide a high level of protection for young children who love to get out and play in the sunshine.
Our garments offer the following design elements:
- They cover more skin than your typical summer clothing, with longer sleeves and higher necklines.
- The fabrics used are closely woven and in shades that absorb more UVR and achieve a higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor [UPF] rating, according to Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4399 Sun Protection Classification, e.g. our hats have a rating of UPF 50+ and most of our clothing offers a rating of at least UPF 30. Shady Days chooses its fabrics based on their UPF testing results and it will maintain a random re-testing regime to ensure these ratings are consistent in the fabrics we use. [Please refer to each individual garment for the specifics of their rating]
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- The styles and cuts are easy to throw on, loose and comfortable to wear and made in natural, breathable fibres, such as cotton.
As well as being sun protective our garments are stylish, age appropriate and super comfy on those hot summer days.
When choosing sun protective clothing it is important to consider the amount of protection the fabric will provide against UVR, [the higher the protection the better], but it is also important to consider other factors such as ventilation and comfort in the design of each garment.
As well as dressing my kids in Shady Days sun protective clothing, what other steps can I take to protect my child’s skin from harmful UV rays?
Young children do not understand the dangers of UVR so you need to be a role model so they learn good sun sense.
- Apply a SPF 30 broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen to their face and all areas of the body not covered by clothing 20 minutes before they go outdoors. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or activities that cause heavy sweating.
- Put on a Shady Days hat that protects their face, head, neck and ears.
- Put their sunglasses on.
- In peak UV radiation times [between 10am to 3pm] have them play in the shade.
For more sun smart information click here to go to the Cancer Council of Victoria website
Doesn’t my child need some exposure to the sun to enable them to get efficient vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an important nutrient in bone development and maintenance. Exposure to UV radiation enables the body to produce vitamin D. A balance is required between UV radiation exposure for vitamin D production and protecting your child’s skin from damage and skin cancer.
Most people achieve adequate vitamin D levels through UVB exposure during typical day-to-day activities. In summer your child just needs to expose their face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin for a few minutes of sunlight each day on either side of the peak UV periods. Dark skinned individuals need longer exposure.