It’s not just during the hot summer months that children need protecting from the sun’s harmful rays – and parents are being reminded they should keep their kids safe from sunburn even on cloudy days.
Babies and children need to have their skin protected between March and October in the UK, regardless of whether the sun is shining or not.
Sunburn can cause considerable pain and discomfort to youngsters and exposing children to too much sun may increase their risk of skin cancer later in life.
It’s important to take extra care to protect babies and children from the sun because their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin. That means they’re more susceptible to sunburn, as well as potentially more serious effects in later life. Even if it’s cloudy or overcast they can still burn, so parents need to remember a few simple steps to keep their young ones safe from the sun all the way through from March to October.
Cover children up with suitable clothing and encourage them to stay in the shade as much as possible between 11am and 3pm, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. It’s also important to apply a good sunscreen which you should carry with you so you can top up throughout the day.
Top tips to keep your child safe in the sun
- Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
- Cover exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen which has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 above and is effective against UVA and UVB.
- Be especially careful to protect your child’s shoulders and the back of their neck, as well as their nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
- Encourage your child to play in the shade – under trees, for example – especially between 11am and 3pm.
- Cover your child in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves. Get them to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face, neck and ears.
- Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the CE mark (check the label).
- If your child is swimming, use a waterproof sunblock with an SPF of 15 or above and reapply after towelling.
For more information about staying safe in the sun, visit www.nhs.uk.