Keeping Your Child Sun Safe: UPF 50+ Sun Protective Clothing is the Best Solution
Posted: August 12th, 2021
With the summer heat in full swing, you might be wondering how you can best protect the kids from the sun's harsh UV rays.
While sunscreen is for sure still an effective sun protection strategy, experts now say that it shouldn’t just be used on its own. On top of a broad spectrum sunscreen, dressing the kiddos in sun protective clothing with a high UPF rating is the simplest way to be sun safe.
Kids and Skin Sensitivity:
Because infant skin is super sensitive to both sunlight and certain chemicals found in sunscreens, caregivers shouldn't apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months old.
But without the use of sunscreen, what can you do? Well there are a few practices you can take-part in, including seeking shade and wearing high UPF-rated clothing, to maintain your sun-safety routine.
What is UPF?
You’re probably familiar with SPF, or Sun Protection Factor seen on sunscreen bottles, but what about UPF?
UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, describes how effective a garment is at absorbing UV rays before they reach the skin. The two ratings differ in that UPF measures the impact of both UVA and UVB rays, while SPF only measures UVB.
Why Not All UPF Clothing is Equal
Even though any UPF coverage is better than none, not all UPF clothing is equal. To break it down, here are a few factors to consider when deciding which garments are more protective than others:
1. What’s the rating?
Since the maximum UPF rating is 50+, it makes sense that the Canadian Dermatology Association recommends wearing garments within the UPF 40-50 range. This range will provide excellent protection from the sun, blocking 98% of UV rays.
2. Check your fabric weave
Typically, tight-knit materials are more effective at protecting the skin from UV rays than fabrics that are loose knit. When picking out items, aim for fabrics with a tight weave and denser fiber (i.e. not see-through and thicker).
3. Know your materials
Research shows that bamboo fabric’s UV absorption abilities actually improve with wash, which is said to possibly be due to the slight tightening of the fabric fibres, creating a denser defense barrier.
4. That “just right” fit
Garment fit also plays a role in UV protection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the stretching of tight clothing along the skin can separate fabric fibres and allow UV rays to pass through, so a general rule of thumb is that looser is better than skin-tight. Don't forget that the more skin the garment covers, the better the sun protection!
So, Where Can I Get This?
Here at PIKA, we’re all about kid safety which is why we’ve created three super soft and cozy looks with UPF 50+ protection.
Our moisture-wicking, long sleeved UPF 50+ Sun Shirt is the perfect option to slip on during those sunny days at the cottage, or even just when playing in the yard at home.
What about the little ones? We’ve got them covered too! We make a UPF 50+ Baby Playsuit (available in sizes 0-24 months) and UPF 50+ Sun Blankets - great for sunny walks in the park.
Sun protective clothing is currently a self-regulating industry in North America.
At PIKA we test all our UPF fabrics using AATCC 183 method to ensure they are UPF 50+.
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