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Sun safety and children

Children spend a lot more time outside than adults and they need to be protected from the sun’s rays.

Teach your child SunSense when they’re young – you'll be protecting them now and reducing their risk of skin cancer in the future.

How to protect your child

  • Keep babies out of direct sunlight. Use clothing that covers their arms and legs and don’t forget a hat. Keep them protected in a covered stroller, under an umbrella or in the shade. This can also help prevent dehydration and sunstroke.  If protective clothing and shade are not available, it is okay to use a small amount of sunscreen on your baby’s exposed skin (such as their face and the back of their hands). Using a small amount of sunscreen is better than risking a sunburn, which can be serious for an infant. Before applying sunscreen to your baby’s skin, test a small amount on your baby’s inner arm to see if the skin reacts to the product. If you can, check with a healthcare professional before using sunscreen on children less than 6 months of age.
  • Try to keep toddlers and children out of the sun, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the rays are at their strongest, or any time of the day when the UV Index is 3 or more.
  • Send your kids to school or play in protective clothing, such as a loose-fitting t-shirt and a wide-brimmed hat (which provides more protection than a baseball cap). Don’t forget about protecting their shoulders and necks as these can get easily burned.
  • Provide shade in your play area. Try a large umbrella if there are no trees.
  • Always apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher to your kids at least 20 minutes before they go outside. Reapply often and don’t forget their nose, ears, cheeks and tops of their feet.
  • If they’re playing in or near water, make sure the sunscreen is water-resistant and reapply often. Also make sure they put on dry clothing after playing in water as wet clothing can lose up to half of its UV protection.
  • Don’t put sunscreen around your child’s eyes – it will probably sting. Try to get them to wear a hat. Or as soon as they can wear sunglasses, think about getting them a good quality pair of wraparound sunglasses (with UVA and UVB protection).
  • Don’t use baby oil as a moisturizer before your child goes outside. The oil will make the effect of the sun stronger and could cause your child to burn faster.