Because July is national Ultraviolet Radiation Awareness month, it seems appropriate to mention - again - a wonderful educational resource that teaches young children about sun safety. (Especially since the sun is our main source of UV exposure.)
As a preschool teacher and cancer educator, I am constantly instilling unique, creative and fun ways to help youth protect themselves from skin cancer. Did you know that 80% of one's lifetime sun damage occurs before age 18? Yet, if we foster a habit of daily [year-round] sunscreen use, and are smart about protecting our skin during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. when the sun's rays are most intense (even on cloudy, cold days), we can significantly reduce both our and our child's risk of skin cancer.
This issue has, yet again, hit especially close to home for me as one of my very favorite people recently underwent skin cancer surgery. I told my preschoolers about it, in a way they can understand, through use of this delightful book entitled SkinSense. It's a book I had the lovely pleasure of reviewing prior to its publication.
SkinSense, written by licensed clinical social worker, Lori Glickman, features colorful illustrations by her [then] 10-year-old daughter and explains the importance of sun safety in a fun, engaging way that young children can grasp and understand. I highly recommend every parent, early childhood/elementary teacher, health professional and anyone who cares about the safety of our children to get - and give - a copy of SkinSense.
It is important for our children to experience the outdoors, as it provides vast opportunities to engage their motor skills and learn about their environment. Similarly, it's important for them to experience this as safely as possible - this means proper, daily protection against over-exposure to UV rays from the sun.
For more information about ultraviolet radiation, proper sunscreen use, even sun protective clothing, etc., please review the many informative articles on the subject[s] here on this Blog. You can also check out the American Academy of Dermatology.
Here's to being safe in the sun this summer - and all year round. And don't forget to get a copy of SkinSense! My preschoolers love it - and so will you! And while you're at it, visit the official Skin Cancer Awareness store and show your support!