When you take your toddler or preschooler to the swimming pool, you want her to be as safe as possible. This means you probably stick to her like glue the whole time you’re in the water, despite her cries that she just wants to play. Stay close to her, but don’t forget to put a hat on her too if you are swimming outdoors. This protects her from the sun and makes pool time fun and safe at the same time.
Not all hats offer the same protection, so your little one might not be that protected if you just throw your husband’s baseball hat on her and hit the pool. Certain styles are better when you are spending time out in the sunshine. The Cancer Council recommends bucket hats, legionnaire hats and broad-brimmed hats. A bucket hat covers your child’s whole head as well as her ears and neck. A legionnaire-style hat has a flap that goes around the sides and back and hangs down. A broad brimmed hat, such as a straw hat, provides shade to your child’s face, ears and neck.
Wearing a hat to the pool, then removing it offers protection until you get in the water. Your toddler or preschooler is still in the sun when she’s swimming, so removing it before jumping in lowers her protection. The sun’s rays are magnified off the water, according to the Pediatrics for Parents website, so a hat is vital in the pool no matter how much screaming and resistance you get with the mere mention of wearing it. If your little one has trouble keeping her hat on while she swims, choose one that has a string and toggle that you can tighten to prevent it from falling off her head and floating away.
Being out in the bright sun ups your child’s risk of getting a sunburn. Besides the agonizing pain and discomfort she’ll be in for days, any amount of sun damage raises the risk of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In the future, your child will thank you if you make her wear a hat because sun protection lowers the appearance of wrinkles and brown spots, too. Let your child choose her own sun hat for swimming, which increases the chance that she’ll let you put it on her head without a fight.
Toddlers and preschoolers aren’t known for standing still too long, so you might be tempted to put a hat on her and call it good at the pool. Despite the sun protection benefits of a swimming hat, it’s important to also put sunscreen on your little one. A hat won’t keep the sun completely off her face and doesn’t shield her arms, back or legs from the sun. So, chase her down and slather her up, then stick a hat on her and have some fun in the water.