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Sunscreen? Shade or a Hat? Or all three at the same time.

by Laura on August 12th, 2013

These are the tough questions of our time, and they are not mere #firstworldproblems. Yeah, I just used a hashtag in a blog post for no good reason.

The sunscreen [or]

Keep-the-child-in-the-shade-at-all-times-if-possible [or]

Just-slap-a-hat-on-her … question is alive and kicking here in the Balkans (and most areas in this region are not “first world,” whatever that actually means).

Photo credit flickr

Yes, in the U.S. we are obsessed with preventing sun damage, and lather our kids up with thick layers of SPF 50+, lest our child “break out” in one freckle. Lost the freckle battle with my five-year-old daughter already.

As with most things regarding children in Serbia, there are further rules when it comes to the covering of a child’s head. In winter and summer.

No, in case you’re wondering, Serbia is not a Muslim country. That’s Albania and, if you count them as a country, Kosovo. (For what it’s worth, 103 out of 193 United Nations member states recognize Kosovo.)

Yes, Serbia is a nonsecular-Eastern/Serbian-Orthodox-primarily-in-terms-of-culture country. They may be atheists but they still care about their kids. I know, they don’t “know Jesus,” but are good people … it’s confusing.

It does not matter if it is sunny and 90 degrees, hats must be secured, lest direct sunlight pierce a child’s delicate head and cause immediate sun stroke.

For my half-Serb half-American kids, hats are uncomfortable, or as my daughter comments “look ugly on her.” They  sweat through hats, if they even permit one to grace the top of their heads at all. Sweaty hat? How uncouth.

So mostly, we rely on sunscreen … which presents a similar problem. Did I mention my son is a sweaty guy? He just runs warm. Yes, I’ve tried sport lotion, and all those gimmicks, but here’s the thing. Either the lotion runs into his eyes, or the lotion is so “clingy” to his skin–so as to avoid dripping when one sweats–said sunscreen has likely entirely blocked the pores of his skin to such an extent that he starts overheating!

So yeah, it’s mostly shade for us, and then sun in the early mornings and late afternoons.

And if they are out-and-about at noon without a hat or shady spot? … They’ll live.


From → Expat Mommy

  1. eagoodlife permalink

    As someone who is currently suffering an extreme Vit D deficiency which has painful and possibly long-term consequences, the results of two years away from the usual outdoor life, I suggest never using sunscreen as it contains carcinogenic agents.Keep out of the hottest part of the day, cover up with loose light cotton clothing and make sure the skin is exposed for 20 minutes each day at least.Simple, safe and natural!

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