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 baby
- 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.
- Check with a healthcare professional before using sunscreen on children less than 6 months of age.
How to protect your toddler or child
- Provide shade in your play area. Try a large umbrella if there are no trees.
- Try to keep toddlers and children out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 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 outside to 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.
- Always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher on any exposed skin not covered by their clothing. 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.
- As soon as they can wear sunglasses, get them a pair of close-fitting, 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.
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The Canadian Cancer Society is funding lifesaving clinical trials that give people with cancer access to the newest types of treatment.