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Sun safety tips for babies and children

Children spend a lot more time outside than adults, and they need to be protected from the sun’s rays. Teaching your kids about sun safety helps them reduce their risk of skin cancer throughout their lives.

image of a mom and twin babies on a beach

Protecting 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.

Is sunscreen safe for babies?

If your baby is less than 6 months old, check with a healthcare professional before using sunscreen.

    For babies 6 months of age and older, it’s OK to use a small amount of sunscreen on exposed skin (such as their face and the back of their hands). Protective clothing and shade are better protection from the sun, but using a small amount of sunscreen is better than risking a sunburn, which can be serious for a baby. Make sure to test a small amount on your baby’s inner arm to see if the skin reacts to the product before using it on other exposed skin.

    Protecting your toddler or child

    image of a mom and daughter on a beach applying sunscreen
    • Provide shade in their 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 areas burn easily.
    • 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 and cheeks and the 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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