Sun safety for children is high on every parent’s agenda when the sun comes out. This summer has been amazing so far. Lots of sunshine and dry weather and plenty of opportunities for the little ones to be out in the fresh air. However as parents it’s drummed into us that we should protect our children’s skin from the ‘dangerous’ sun rays.
Of course we also need to think about keeping the children hydrated and cool too. So with this in mind we need to always think three important things!
- Cover all visible skin with high factor suncream, ideally SPF50
- Dress the kids in cool organic cotton clothes
- Pop a cool cotton sun hat on them
Young babies and children are particularly vulnerable in the summer and extra care needs to be taken with protecting them. Babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun whenever possible, and older babies and children should be allowed in the sun for a limited time and only when they are well protected.
- Apply a minimum of Factor 30+ sunscream, Anything below SPF30 does not really give adequate protection. To be honest even adults should never go below a factor 15 and children ideally Factor 30+. Apply the suncream 15-30 minutes before they go out and try to use waterproof sun cream, especially when they are playing in swimming pools or the sea.
- Even during term-time, remember that children are outside at school for break and lunch times. Look at buying the 10 hour protection creams and putting it on the children before school. A lot of schools allow the children to take sun-creams in but the staff are not allowed to apply it on the children.
- Encourage your children to wear a hat and cover up. Loose organic cotton clothes are the most comfortable. The sun can still penetrate thin clothing, so ensure you cream them all over.
- Don’t be tempted to buy cheap sunglasses for the children. We all know that children easily lose and break sunglasses but cheap ones can do more harm than good.
- Use the shade as much as possible, especially for babies. Under trees and sun umbrellas are perfect for children to play under.
Sun Safety for Children
A survey revealed that:
- 83% of British parents don’t think it’s necessary to apply any sun protection to their children in the summer months before going to school.
- Over half of parents don’t give their child a bottle of sun protection before they go to school during the summer.
- A staggering 19% of mums and dads say their children do NOT have a shaded area in their school playground.
- 37% of parents buy lower than an SPF30 for their children.
Sun Safety Facts
- babies burn faster than children or adults
- you can burn in the shade from reflected light
- a wet cotton t-shirt lets through nearly as much sun as no shirt
- don’t wait till you feel hot, 10am sun burns as much as 2pm sun
- always re-apply suncream after swimming even if waterproof
- apply sun cream at least every two hours
- cloudy days are dangerous- a lot of UV still gets through cloud
- watch out for cool winds or water, it can make you think you are not getting burnt
- plan your trips to avoid being in the heat of the day 10-2pm
- have picnics in the shade and play in the shade
- enjoy the woods
- encourage the children to wear hats and long sleeved t-shirts
- give children regular drinks of water or fruit juice to keep them hydrated.
I hope you don’t feel like I’m lecturing you here. Sun safety is so important though and with skin cancer rates rocketing year on year, we must remember to protect our babies and children.