RVA Parenting: Protecting your child's skin

(WWBT) - The pool season is underway, and the summer heat is picking up. But as you head out to have fun in the sun, make sure you're protecting your skin and your kids'.

There's nothing more fun than a splash in the pool on a hot summer day, but a sunburn could leave you hurting now and cringing later.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year.

"It's so prevalent these days," Scott Prendergast, Dermal Youth. "One in five Americans will have skin cancer.

So if you see a mole or a freckle on your body that's changing and looks different, take a picture of it. Everyone is taking selfies nowadays. Take a picture of it and go get it examined."

But, there are some preventative steps you can take. Obviously, hats and clothing can be helpful. When you're in the high sun, sunscreen every hour. It's a pain, but not as big of a pain as a bad burn.

Patient First also recommends staying in the shade.

But it's not just the obvious stuff. you may need to put sunscreen on your kids more often than you realize.

"Parents, you know, most of the damage occurs away from the pool and the beach," said Scott Prendergast, with Dermal Youth. "When they're at the playground, when they're at the bus stop, when we're taking a stroll, that sun damages that pristine skin."

Scott Prendergast has developed a sunscreen system he sells and uses for kids, but he says the main thing is to make sure you're putting it on religiously and liberally.

The folks at Patient First say skin cancer is highly curable if found early.  The best way to find skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly and look for any changes in moles or skin growth.

Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved