Summer festivals & sun safety

This adorable little girl and her mom attended a recent sun safety event at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Arizona is home to all sorts of fall, winter, spring and summer festivals. Before the 4th of July, we’ve got the Flagstaff Folk Festival, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival, the Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Festival and more. And plenty of outdoor events — many featuring music and other types of art — happen during the 4th of July weekend.

So I was delighted to attend the June 21 “Sun and Heat Safety Event” at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It was my first experience with the hospital’s rooftop garden, located on the 3rd floor of their majestic new main building. It’s got brightly-colored flower pots taller than most of the patients, and it’s a lovely space for patients and families to enjoy a bit of quiet time away from procedure areas and such.

Dr. Price with two of her patients

The event featured safety displays and demonstrations by the hospital’s injury prevention center, arts & crafts, games and fun refreshments like sun cookies and snow cones.

A doctor from their dermatology team demonstrated how to apply sunscreen and several patients who’ve survived skin cancer shared their experiences. And hospital mascot Dudley was on hand too.

Event volunteers included candy stripers Mia and Joseph

I learned some interesting facts while I was there. That Arizona is second only to Australia in skin cancer rates worldwide. That just one blistering sunburn can double a child’s chance of skin cancer. That melanoma kills one person every hour. That the temperature in a car can rise to 172° with just 15 minutes of direct sunlight. That children’s body temperatures rise five times faster than adult body temperatures.

This cutie got one of the orange sun safety shirts

So as you’re enjoying summertime art walks, festivals and outdoor concerts with your family, please make sun safety a priority. When Kurt and Shonda Schilling lived here in the Valley, Raising Arizona Kids publisher and editor Karen Barr always bought a table for the annual event benefiting the SHADE Foundation they support. We’re all big believers in sun safety.

Here are a few tips from the fine folks at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (who also offer tips on all sorts of health and safety issues online):

  • Never leave children unattended in a vehicle
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes
  • Seek shade whenever possible
  • Remember when planning activities that the sun is strongest from 10am-2pm
  • Wear protective clothing whenever you are outside (UV rays bounce off snow, concrete, water, sand and more)
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that screens out UVB and UVA rays
  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 (use liberally and re-apply often, especially after swimming, sweating or drying off)
  • Protect sensitive skin (nose, cheeks, ears, shoulders) using a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide
  • Keep infants (6 months and younger) out of the sun

The teen cancer survivors who shared their stories were quick to say that they’d rather live with being teased about wearing a hat or suncreen than have to go through cancer again.

Dudley must go through a huge amount of sunscreen

But if your child is worried that sun safety isn’t cool, consider some of your options in hip protective clothing — including offerings from UV Skinz, which are available through Suit Up Kids at Desert Ridge Marketplace.

Suit Up Kids was at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital event, and brought along 200 adorable orange UV Skinz for babies — which were donated to the hospital through UV Skinz’s “Save a Baby’s Skin” campaign. Several babies left the event sporting these adorable tops, which will make them the best dressed babies at any summer festivals their families attend.

Get your family’s summer festival supplies — including sun safety items, water bottles and such — together now. That way you’ll be ready to go next time you decide to enjoy an outdoor art fair or concert.

– Lynn

Note: Click here for information on festivals and other events around Arizona — and here to read a feature about Shonda Schilling I wrote many years ago for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: Arizona art walks, Reflections from Ground Zero, Baseball art meets MLB All-Star game, Review of “Cars 2″

Update: The Arboretum at Flagstaff just announced that their “Summer Plant Sale and Penstemon Festival” is scheduled in early July to take advantage of the monsoon rains — visit www.thearb.org for details

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