Thanks to a lot of high-profile media coverage, we’re all well aware of the dangers of UV rays and overexposure to the sun. Young children, in particular, are at an increased risk of sunburn and skin damage, which is why sun safety for babies and children will always be a hot topic for us during the summer months.
While getting some sunlight each day is important for vitamin D absorption, too much of it can lead to skin damage – from freckles to pre-mature ageing – and in some cases far more serious conditions such as skin cancer. Here’s a little sun safety recap to keep your little ones safe during the brighter weather:
Sun Safety for Babies and Children
Children’s delicate skin needs good protection from potentially harmful doses of UV rays. The following advice is recommended to help keep babies and children safe in the sun:
– Babies under the age of six months should be kept out of direct sunlight, especially around midday. If you need to go out, dress them in lightweight cotton clothes and use a sunshade or natural shade as much as possible.
– Avoid taking older babies and children out between the hours of 11 am – 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest. Head indoors or stick to shady spots, such as under trees or parasols.
– Dress children in loose cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, if they’ll tolerate them. Look for sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the CE mark.
– Consider buying UV protective clothing.
Buying and Using Sun Creams
As babies under 6 months should remain out of direct sunlight, child-friendly sun creams will usually state on the packaging that they are suitable for children aged 6 months +. In addition to the advice listed below, some parents choose to use sunscreen that has few chemical ingredients. Here’s our list of 7 natural and organic sun creams that are suitable for babies.
– Use a broad spectrum sun cream of SPF15 or higher
– Check that the sun cream protects from UVA rays, as well as UVB. Look for the UVA in a circle logo, or four or five stars on the packaging.
– Apply sun cream 15 – 20 minutes before sun exposure, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer.
– Reapply every 80 minutes, or more frequently if needed, particularly after swimming, sweaty activities or towel drying.
– Use a waterproof sun cream for outdoor swimming sessions.
– Sunscreen does go out of date. It usually expires anywhere between 1 – 3 years after opening. This info can be found somewhere on the bottle or packaging.