Do you know how much sun you are getting while swimming on a sunny day? Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has an Ultraviolet Index (UVI) that measures the amount of UV that reaches Singapore between 7am to 7pm. You may read more about how the UVI works here.
From the chart, it is evident that sun protection is greatly needed when the UVI is in the high and very high range. Swimming is always great on a sunny day, but getting a sunburn is not. Children have very sensitive skin that can burn quickly, and unfortunately the cooling effect of the water can disguise this until it’s too late. Too much exposure to UV radiation can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression.
The following steps are useful in protecting our children from excessive UV radiation:
- Wear your children in UV-protecting rashguards or swimwear.
As long as skin is exposed, UV radiation can reach it.
- Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 20 minutes before swimming, re-applying every 2 hours.
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor indicates how much longer you can stay out before burning than when you are not using a sun protection product. However, this does not mean that you should stay in the sun longer, just that you are getting more protection from a higher SPF compared to a lower SPF.
- Wear a hat
Make sure the hat covers the neck and ears as well. Bucket hats are great for sun protection.
- Seek shade
Wherever possible, be sure to stay near the shade when you are in an outdoor pool, or go to a sheltered pool for swimming lessons.
- Check the UVI
Checking the UVI before swimming allows you to decide the type of sun protection needed.
Have fun swimming in a safe manner!