Sun Protection Wear

What to look for in protective swimwear for your child

When out in the sun, it's important to remember to protect your skin and your child's from the dangers of UV rays. UV-protective swimwear is an effective way to help shield your skin from the sun, and can be used in combination with or as an alternative to sunblock on areas it covers.

UV Explained

Ultra-Violet light is emitted from the sun in the form of UVA, UVB and UVC rays that can be very harmful to skin. UVC rays don't yet reach the Earth, but UVA and B rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells, which can contribute to increased risk of cancer. UV rays are most harmful from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun is shining from the highest point in the sky and is emitting UV rays most directly. This also results in increased heat.

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The Effects of UV Rays

It's important to protect skin whenever possible. In addition to skin cancer, excessive exposure to UV rays can have other harmful effects, such as lowered immune system response to infections, wrinkles and tender skin - not to mention painful sunburns. Sunburns are signs of skin damage, indicating you have been exposed to harmful UV rays for too long. However, UV rays are detrimental to your health even if you do not develop a sunburn.

Preventing UV Damage

The best way to guard against harmful UV rays is to stay out of the sun - but that's not ideal for most of us, especially those of us who like to swim. UV-protective swimwear can greatly reduce the effects of harmful UV rays on the body. This type of swimwear is probably an even better idea for kids, who may not like putting on sunblock or forget to re-apply if they are at the beach or the *pool[/raising-children/child-safety/child-pool-safety.aspx] for long periods.

UV-Protective Swimwear

UV-protective swimwear covers more body area than traditional swimwear such as swimming trunks, bikinis and even one piece female bathing suits. The entire torso is covered, as well as a significant portion of the arms and legs. This type of swimwear is usually made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon or spandex, and is put together in such a way as to allow unhindered movement and flexibility, while blocking almost 100 percent of the sun's damaging rays.

UV-protective swimwear is available from many distributors and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. This type of swimwear is usually designed with a zipper down the front for convenience, and is available with a variety of patterns and graphic designs. If you're concerned about the harmful effects of UV rays on your children, UV-protective swimwear is an effective and convenient alternative to sunscreen. But remember, UV-protective swimwear doesn't cover the entire body, so be sure to apply sunblock to those areas left exposed.