Now that the weather is getting warmer and sunnier, the kids are putting on their shorts and sandals -- and I'm putting on hats and sunscreen. With my kids' heritage (Alfie is English, with typical pale English skin) and the knowledge that we've gained over the years about sun exposure and skin cancer, our family takes sun safety very seriously.
Here are some alarming statistics from the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:
* Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. It is estimated that one American dies every hour from skin cancer, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
* 90% of all skin cancers are caused by unprotected exposure to UV radiation.
* Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for young adults 15-29 years old. One severe sunburn in youth doubles the potential for skin cancer.
That last statistic is what scares me the most. It's our kids who have the most to lose if they're not protected from the sun, and it's really up to us, the parents to protect them!
I've done several blog posts about ways to keep kids safe in the sun, and one of the easiest is to make sure they're wearing hats and sun-protective clothing. That way, if I forget to reapply sunscreen, or if my kids are out with friends and they forget (and that's an almost certain thing!), they're still protected. Ordinary shirts usually have an SPF rating of 8 or 10, so I like to add a sun-protective laundry aid to the washing machine when I do the laundry in the summer, which gives clothes a UPF 30 rating for up to 20 washes.
Even better, I invest in good-quality sun shirts that my kids can wear while swimming, playing at the beach, or running through the sprinklers in the yard. I recently received some samples of Sunskinz UV-protective clothing from the Sun Protection Zone, and I was absolutely delighted with their quality and design! Read more about what I thought of Sunskinz below, and enter to win a Sunskinz of your own:
Sunskinz are children shirts from Sun Protection Zone, rated for 100 SPF / UPF 50+ UV Protection. Here is how Sun Protection Zone describes these shirts:
SunSkinz are tightly woven with proprietary high-density yarn that provides 100 SPF / UPF 50+ Maximum Broad Spectrum UV Protection. Four way stretch fabric is comfortable to wear, dries quickly and stands up well to chlorine and salt water.
As their website says, it's Sun Protection That Doesn't Wash Off!
Over the years, I've bought a ton of sun shirts for my kids, and let me tell you, Sunskinz are GOOOD. Many of the shirts I've bought are made with very thin material that lets light through (which means they're not as sun-protective), wears thin and stretches to the point of no return, causing the shirt to misform. Not so with Sunskinz; I love the thick material. Yet the kids don't complain of feeling too warm or constricted. They also like the bold, colorful designs.
We put their new Sunskinz to the test in our first-ever waterfight of the season:
They're having so much fun they don't even realize how cute they look. And I can snap picture after picture without worrying about reapplying sun lotion on their shoulders and back. I am so loving these Sunskinz!
While I have no complaints whatsoever with the shirts themselves, I think the website could be improved to make it easier for people to purchase online. For example, when I was wondering what sizes my kids should get, I searched the website for a size chart, but couldn't find it in all the usual places (i.e. Help section, Customer service). Turns out, it's buried in the FAQ section. But believe me, these shirts are worth the small amount of extra effort it takes to buy them!
The Bottom Line
Sunskinz UV shirts will be a hit with your kids because they're cute, cool, and comfortable. They'll be a hit with parents because they protect kids' skin, and are sturdy enough to last throughout the summer (and beyond). They're a must-have item for the summer!
Win a Sunskinz UV-protective shirt
That's right, one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a Sunskinz shirt from the Sun Protection Zone! To enter, go to sunprotectionzone.com, then leave a comment on this post telling me which of their products you would most like to get to protect your family from the sun.
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each extra entry once unless otherwise noted; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):
1) Follow @sunprotectzone on Twitter (leave a comment with your Twitter name).
2) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).
3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (leave a comment with your FB id).
4) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(leave a comment with your Blogger profile name).
5) Leave a comment on any of my blog posts on Finding Bonggamom (leave a comment here with the link to the post that you commented on).
6) Tweet this up to once per day (max of 19 tweets, leave a comment with a link to your tweet each time you tweet):
Win a Sunskinz kids SPF100 shirt from @sunprotectzone Enter by 5/28 on @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/1KVXj #giveaway pls RT
Maximum of 25 entries per person. US residents only. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on May 28, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on May 29 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received sample Sunskinz shirts for my kids, but was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Unless clearly stated, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.