You already know how important it is to seek shade when out in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when light is most intense, but you may not have realized that some types of shade are better than others. In fact, you may be quite exposed to indirect UV rays if you sit near a reflective surface, such as dry sand or concrete. Follow this advice from the Skin Cancer Foundation for the best sun safety for kids and families.
Finding the Right Shade
Only very large umbrellas offer any useful UV protection, and the amount of protection will still depend on their Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which can be anywhere between 3 and 106, and their Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which can be up to 50+. At the beach, an umbrella is close to useless regardless of its SPF and UPF due to the high amounts of indirect UV from sand and water.
You can receive the best protection from trees around the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky. Try to choose a tree with thick foliage, near other trees or buildings, and away from reflective surfaces.
Shade structures with roofs can differ greatly in the UV protection they provide, once again because of indirect light. The best are those close to buildings, trees, and other structures with side walls.
Keep your face safe from the sun wherever you are with a hat. Broad-brimmed hats are the best, as they shield your entire face and neck from UV rays, including areas prone to sun damage like the nose and ears, but baseball caps and legionnaire-style hats also offer satisfactory protection.
Your skin is not the only thing you need to protect from the sun. Keep your kids safe from both direct and indirect sunlight by ensuring they don a pair of sunglasses whenever they head outdoors. Remember, our polarized styles, like Explorer, Storm, and Blade, can significantly reduce glare from reflective surfaces to improve vision.