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Frequently Asked Questions about Sun Protective Clothing:
What are the top 10 benefits of Solartex's Sun Protective Clothing?
Why should I choose one of the Solartex brands instead of another kind of sun-protective clothing?
Stingray is known as the "original sun protection clothing company in Australia" while Sun Emporium of Australia has been manufacturing sun protective wear for a number of years.
Recently, we have seen a surge in suits and shirts made to mimic the Australian sun protective wear. But these imitators' suits are often not tested for SPF/UPF and are made of flimsy material that the sun can easily penetrate. Frequently, these items are not chlorine resistant and fall apart after one season of use, whereas our items are made to withstand the sun, chlorine and the ocean, and have been known to last for years. (Chlorine resistant items are noted in the product description.) Some imitators' suits and shirts block as little as 70% of the sun's UVA/UVB rays, while our clothing blocks over 97.5% of these damaging rays. Others do not offer the generous coverage of our suits, but stop far short of the elbows and knees.
So if you want sun protective clothing made by one of the innovators in the business and tested for maximum protection at 50+ SPF, choose one of our products and feel at ease that you and your children will receive maximum protection in a cool, comfortable, chemical-free shirt or suit.
Why is sun protection important?
Everyone knows by now that sun exposure may cause wrinkles, spots, and skin cancer. It may even cause melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society states that:
The American Cancer Society recommends a 3-prong approach to sun protection with their "Slip! Slop! Slap!" campaign. They suggest you "slip" on clothes made of "tightly woven fabrics", "slop" on 15+SPF sunscreen, and "slap" on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
Isn't sunscreen alone, enough?
No. Clothing is recommended because it can reduce exposure to a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. While sunscreen remains an important part of a balanced sun protection plan, many organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend wearing tightly-woven protective clothes.
Sunscreen originally blocked only UVB rays, the ones that cause a tan or sunburn. UVA rays were thought to be safe, but a few years ago scientists learned that UVA rays are dangerous. Now most sunscreens block some UVA rays, but not all of them, and scientists still don't know whether the most dangerous UVA rays are being blocked.
Recent research suggests that sunscreen may not prevent melanoma, and may even contribute to the increase in melanoma rates because it gives a false sense of security and it allows people to stay out in the sun longer and be subjected to more damaging sun rays. In fact, melanoma rates have increased dramatically since sunscreens became popular. (See Peter Jaret's article, "Truth, Beauty, and Skin Cancer" in the July/August 1997 issue of Health. Also, see Dr. Phillippe Autier's article, "Sunscreen Use, Wearing Clothes, and Number of Nevi in 6-to-7-Year-Old European Children" in the December 16,1998, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.)
Indeed, the American Academy of Dermatology predicted a 6% increase in Melanoma for 1999, and a recent John Hopkins University Study has found that between 1973 and 2001 melanoma rates have increased in children by 3% per year.
Research indicates that most people do not apply enough sunscreen to achieve the desired SPF, and in practical use often achieve an SPF protection equivalent to between 3 and 7. The average adult needs to apply more than one ounce per application and frequent reapplication is required. And sunscreen is hard to apply properly--it is easy to miss a spot and end up with sunburn! Water, wind, heat, humidity, and altitude can decrease sunscreen's effectiveness and it rubs off, sweats off, rinses off and fades away making it necessary to reapply regularly. Studies also show that many people apply sunscreen after sun exposure begins and may take up to one hour to apply it to their children. Since sunburn can occur within minutes, a large quantity of sunscreen must be applied to all family members before going outside. Besides the expense of trying to use sunscreen effectively, it is often a hassle--especially with small children!
In addition, sunscreen is chemical based, protective clothing is not; the tight weave of the material provides the sun protection. And a small percentage of people may be sensitive or allergic to some of the active ingredients in sunscreens. Furthermore, experts recommend that parents refrain from using sunscreen on infants under 6 months old and instead rely on protective clothing and keep them out of direct sunlight.
For all these reasons, it makes sense to wear protective clothing... the sunscreen that never wears off!
Why can't I just use a T-shirt?
While a very heavy, dark, tightly-woven T-shirt may offer sun protection, most summer-weight cotton T-shirts offer as little as 10 SPF dry and lose 50% of their SPF when wet. The minimum SPF recommended by the American Cancer Society and others is 15. (The protective qualities of sunscreen are rated by the Sun Protective Factor-SPF-which indicates the length of time someone can spend outdoors without burning. When using a 15 SPF lotion, a person who normally burns after 20 minutes can tolerate 15 times 20 minutes(300 minutes) without burning.) In addition, our sun protective wear is designed for the water--it's quick drying and fits well, unlike a wet clammy T-shirt that hangs and may weigh you down in the water.
What type of material is your sun protective wear made from?
Solartex, Sun Emporium and Stingray all use exclusively manufactured chlorine resistant polyester fabrics. What makes these fabrics unique is their weave. There are no chemical additives that will wash away with time. The material combines a unique weave and specialized dyeing processes to produce a fabric that offers a SPF/UPF rating of 50+ and that offers all-way stretch. It blocks over 97.5% of UVA and UVB rays, the maximum protection available. IThe Stingray leisure wear items are made of a Water Resistant Micro Fibre Fabric which is exclusive to STINGRAY� and is cool and light to wear.
What is the SPF/UPF Classification system?
The SPF/UPF Classification System helps to rate clothing in a way similar to that used for sunscreen.
*The UPF Classification System:
|UPF Rating||UV Protection||UV Blocked|
|15, 20||Good Protection||93.3% to 95.8%|
|25, 30, 35||Very Good Protection||95.9% to 97.4%|
|40, 45, 50, 50+||Excellent Protection||>97.5%|
Source: Australian Radiation Laboratory
Will my child be able to wear these items for more than one summer?
We recommend that you buy at least one size larger than your child currently wears in the Stingray items. Sun Emporium items run larger. For example, if your child wears a size 3 or 4 now, then order a size 6. If your child wears a size 5, try an 8. However, if your child is bigger than average, buy two sizes larger. If you choose the right size, the all-way stretch fabric should provide you with two summers of wear before you pass it down to the next child!
Aren't they hot?
This is probably the most frequently asked question. The answer is no, they are not hot. In fact, they were originally designed for Australia's blistering heat. The material is similar to that worn by long-distance bike riders and other athletes. While they cover more of the body, they are made of a tightly-woven, lightweight and cool material. Even the American Academy of Dermatology states that "tightly-woven clothing reflects heat and helps to keep you feeling cool."
Are there special care requirements?
Our sun protective wear can be worn at the beach or the lake, to the pool, or anywhere you or your child will be outside and need protection. (They're great on a boat, while jet skiing, or at a theme or water park.) Just remember to rinse them well after wear and let them dry in the shade. Avoid the dryer, use mild detergents and don't pack them wet. The fabric is chlorine resistant, but it is still important to remember to rinse well after use in chlorine. Don't worry if you accidentally put the garment in the dryer, it will not ruin the fabric. The sun protection derives from the weave, the color and the material, but there are no chemicals that could wash out or be affected by the dryer. We advise not to use the dryer because over time, it does begin to degrade the material.
Frequently Asked Questions about Aquaforce Flotation Swimsuits:
Can my child really wear the Aqua Force suit in place of a traditional life jacket while boating, jet skiing and water skiing?
Yes, Aqua Force, the first and only swimwear flotation device for children that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, has been authorized for use on boats, personal watercraft and water skis. Children can wear the exclusive, patented design suit instead of a traditional life jacket when participating in popular water activities, such as boating, jet skiing and water skiing
How did the Aqua Force personal flotation swimsuit become the only Coast Guard approved swimsuit personal flotation device (PFD)?
Over a 3 1/2 - year evaluation period by Underwriters Laboratories and testing against stringent Coast Guard Standards, Aqua Force became the only product of its type to receive U. S. Coast Guard approval in the newly created category of "Swimwear Flotation Device." Aqua Force is classified as a Type V Special Purpose Device, meeting carriage requirements for a Type III Flotation Aid only when the child is wearing it. Therefore, when worn, it provides the same protection as a Type III Flotation Aid. Aqua Force was tested for an additional two years in order to receive the classification permitting children to wear it while using personal watercraft and water skis.
Under what conditions are children legally required to wear PFD's like the Aqua Force suit?
Numerous states throughout this country mandate the wearing of a PFD by a child when aboard a boat. The minimum age varies along with other particulars, so be sure to read the hang tag attached to the Aqua Force suit that lists each state and their wear provisions. Presently, 37 states and/or U.S. territories require children who participate in boating activities to wear Coast Guard approved PFDs. Thirty-eight states require PFDs to be worn while waterskiing regardless of age, and 44 states require PFDs to be worn while operating or riding personal watercraft. When your child is wearing the Aqua Force swimsuit PFD on board a boat, ,jet ski or while water skiing, no other life jacket is required for your child.
What Type of Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is the Aqua Force?
Aqua Force is classified as a Type V Special Purpose Device, meeting carriage requirements for a Type III Flotation Aid only when the child is wearing it. Therefore, when worn, it provides the same protection, and meets the Coast Guard requirements, for a Type III Flotation Aid.
What are some of the advantages of the Aqua Force suit?
Aqua Force is the only swimwear flotation device to earn U.S. Coast Guard approval. The unique Aqua Force product serves the dual purpose of swimwear and lifejacket because the exclusive, patented design takes the place of a traditional life jacket, is very comfortable and is designed for continuous wear, just like a swim suit. The suit is made with foam inserts balanced between the front and back of the suit, which allow children to remain stable in the water. The Aqua Force is great for children and families who enjoy participating in water sports and activities because it:
What are the benefits of the Aqua Force design?
The one-piece Aqua Force construction avoids the hassle of a life jacket, which can ride up over a child's shoulders. There's no need to keep taking it off or putting it on, since it is worn as the child's swimsuit and it is made for comfort and continuous wear. Aqua Force is designed with foam inserts that do not absorb water. These contoured pieces of foam cannot be removed by curious fingers and are balanced between the front and back so the child remains stable in the water. Aqua Force's highly visible, bright neon colors are designed to make child watching easier. It is permissible for a child to wear the Aqua Force PFD on a boat in place of a Type III PFD or life jacket. So with the aid of the Aqua Force swimwear flotation device, kids can enjoy riding in the boat or swimming in the water while the boat is anchored, without wearing a bulky life jacket. It is meant for comfort and flexibility in or out of the water, and parents will feel reassured that even a child playing on or near a dock, where many accidents happen, will always be ready.
How do I know which size to choose?
Please consult our size chart here. Also, please remember that the Aqua force swimwear is intended for a snug yet comfortable fit. Be sure to select exactly the right size, not one the child will eventually "grow into." If you need a smaller suit, learn about our My Pool Pal suits below.
How long can my child wear the Aqua Force suit?
It has a label which tells you when the device needs to be replaced. When any portion of the suit reaches the color of the label, replace it. When properly cared for, most children can wear the suit for two to three seasons.
What do I need to know to get the most out of the Aqua Force suit for my child?
Please note that each child is different, and the way he or she uses the Aqua Force will vary based on factors such as size, body weight and density, age, ability, environment and experience. Small children may need assistance in learning to relax and gaining control so they can enjoy hours of fun in the water (control meaning that due to the required amount of buoyancy per weight range, some children may first feel they cannot control which way their bodies move in the water. Once they relax and become used to the buoyancy, they will feel in control and comfortable). A confident, relaxed parent or guardian creates a calm and reassuring experience while the child learns to use Aqua Force. Also, the water may be warm to you, but not your child. A child who is comfortable with the water temperature will find it easier to relax.
Does my child's body weight and density matter?
Some children in the same weight range are naturally more buoyant than others, and it may take them longer to get used to Aqua Force. Children whose weight may not yet have shifted to the lower part of their bodies can tip forward, backwards and sideways until they relax and realize they can control their movement (parents will be a big help here if they remain calm and confident). Communicating in soothing, reassuring tones helps children feel more comfortable. They'll find that Aqua Force allows unrestricted movement that provides hours of fun in and out of the water.
Is the suit easy for young children to use?
Very young children may take longer to adapt because the water may appear scary and intimidating to them (especially if they're non-swimmers), and their sense of security is extremely important. Parents should constantly remind them that they are with them while they are learning to be involved with water activities. A smooth transition from land to water is critical. Allow the child to enter the water at his or her own pace. If a child in an Aqua Force suit accidentally falls into the water, the parent should not panic since the child will be on the water's surface for easy rescue.
What's the difference between My Pool Pal and Aqua Force Swimsuits?
We carry the My Pool Pal Flotation Swimsuits, (pictured on left) which are designed for the pool or lake and accommodate children starting at 20 pounds. The My Pool Pal suits are similar in design to the Aqua Force Swimsuit PFD's (pictured on right) but are less buoyant and are not Coast Guard approved. Just click here to learn more about the My Pool Pal suits or to order a My Pool Pal suit.
Aqua Force offers all the same benefits as My Pool Pal Swimsuits, but with added features (such as more buoyancy) that give it the advantage of Coast Guard approval as a swimwear personal flotation device. Click here to learn more about Aqua Force.
Parental guidance suggested: Even with an Aqua Force swimwear flotation device, nothing replaces the necessity for alert adult supervision to ensure water safety. Parents should never leave their child unattended in the water even if they are wearing their Aqua Force suit. However, Aqua Force's highly visible, bright neon colors are designed to make child watching easier.
Frequently Asked Questions about My Pool Pal Flotation Swimsuits:
What are the advantages of the My Pool Pal flotation swimsuit?
My Pool Pal Flotation Swimsuits allow children to learn to swim, become strong swimmers and develop confidence during water activities. Parents have the comfort of knowing their children can play and enjoy the water while wearing this innovative flotation swimsuit. They offer the following advantages:
How long can my child wear the My Pool Pal suit?
When properly cared for, most children can wear the suit for two to three seasons.
How do I know which size to choose?
Please consult our size chart here. Also, please remember that the My Pool Pal swimwear is intended for a snug yet comfortable fit. Be sure to select exactly the right size, not one the child will eventually "grow into."
Warning: Parents should know that the My Pool Pal Flotation Swimsuits is NOT a Coast Guard approved life preserver and can not be represented as such. My Pool Pal Flotation Swimsuit should be used with adult supervision at all times. Hands-on assistance should be provided for small children learning to balance in the water. Swimmer's performance varies according to body density, weight, age, ability, environment and experience. If a Swimwear Flotation Device is needed (one which meets Coast Guard standards), please order the Aqua Force suit.