Italian Summers & the Importance of Sun Cream

Dad’s don’t spread sun cream on their kids to break their balls (at least I don’t). We do it to protect them. Young skin is even more delicate than adult skin and long-term exposure to the sun causes skin cancer. Try explaining that to a 6 or 10 year old. I did and surprisingly the message got through: Small doses of radiation over many years are dangerous and 5 minutes of precaution ensures healthier skin.

Once you’ve reasoned you need to execute and the best place to do that is at home. Don’t wait until you reach the beach. Diving into waves and building sand castles is much more fun than standing still. You’ll end up frustrated, do a poor job and miss vulnerable spots. Apply sun cream before leaving when kids have their bathing suits on (wearing bathing suits to the beach saves time and energy) and can be coerced to cooperate.

Make sure all exposed skin is covered including ears, nose, calves and feet, which often get overlooked. Spread cream generously and use a high SPF from a trusted brand. It should be waterproof and long lasting. The sun cream market is big business and there are plenty of competing offers at the beginning of summer. Read labels carefully and take time to investigate ingredients and impact. If you have any creams left over from previous years ensure they have not expired.

Make sure kids are covered in cream. A little hassle now avoids a bigger hassle later.

Always set a good example and cover yourself in cream too. Hats and sunglasses provide additional protection but getting kids to wear these can be tricky. Either way bring a large umbrella and encourage children to remain in the shade during peak exposure times or avoid them entirely by heading to the beach early or late. If you head out in the morning make sure all preparations and materials are ready the night before so you can leave after breakfast without stressing about missing snorkeling gear or beach towels. Mid-afternoon is another good time when the sun’s strength gradually diminishes and you can watch it set (if you’re on the right coast).

After a couple of hours in the sea cream wears off and if the sun is still high you may need to reapply. This can be challenging as no child wants to interrupt digging a moat or hunting beach crabs to be lathered in sun cream. Find an opportune moment but if you can’t, go ahead and break your kid’s balls. A little hassle now avoids a bigger hassle later.

Have a safe summer!


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