08/06/2013 05:15 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Hey Mom, Stay Out of the Sun!

Summer travel means summer sun, and while most moms are diligent about slathering up their kids with sunscreen, plopping colourful sunhats on their little heads and wrestling a swim shirt onto them, they need to remember a sunburn for themselves is just as harmful. At a minimum sun damage will cause wrinkles, sunspots and pre-mature skin aging, and at the worst, skin cancer.

Even days that start of shady or appear to be mostly cloudy can be letting through harmful rays, so it's best to assume you need some sort of sun protection when getting ready for a day outdoors. There are many alternatives, depending on your preference and the activities you have planned.

1. Sunscreen is a must for exposed skin, even if you don't normally burn. Pay particular attention to your face. While many regular skin creams or liquid foundations have some ultra-violet protection, it's always a good idea to put on a product designed to protect faces from sun, first. Choose an appropriate SPF level for the rest of your body, and make sure it's waterproof if you plan on being in the water with the kids. Experts suggest you need about two tablespoons of sunscreen for full coverage, and to reapply frequently.

2. Hats not only protect from sunburns, but also guard against heatstroke. A broad brim will provide protection and shade, and stop painful scalp or ear burns. Tilley offers durable hats with ties, to keep them in place on hot, windy days, or when out on the water. Hat head is a small price to pay for this type of protection. Buy a hat you feel comfortable in, and which will go from beach to outdoor café.

3. UV protective clothing is an easy way to keep mom's skin from burning, and now you don't have to rely on boxy or childlike swim shirts like the kids wear. New Canadian designed and made line UVCouture offers a stylish selection of T-shirts, hoodies "sun shrugs," dresses and more. Their unique material keeps you cool and protected in the sun, while looking fashionable. Great for sailing or supervising kids on the beach. They're waterproof too, so take a dip and stay covered up at the same time.

4. Stay out of the sun completely by using a big sun umbrella on the beach or walking with an umbrella. As well, the sun protection tents for infants are often big enough for mom to sit under, and read a book.

Of course the ultimate in sun protection is to stay indoors or in the shade entirely, and rely on tanning cream products that will have you looking like a "hot mama," in only a good way.

An excerpt from this article was originally run in The Metro News.

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