- Avoid or minimize sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s rays are hottest.
- Be careful when the child is near water, sand, snow or concrete since these can reflect the sun and cause sunburn.
- The risk of sunburn during certain activities, such as water sports, is high.
- Clouds are not sufficiently protective against sunburn since the sun’s rays on a cloudy day may only be reduced by 20% to 40%.
- Seeking shade is somewhat helpful, but a child can still sunburn because light is scattered and reflected.
- Clothes offer the simplest, and often most practical, sun protection.
- Tight weave clothing lets in less sunlight than a looser weave.
- Clothes that cover more of the body provide better protection.
- Consider dressing children in lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts if sunburns are possible.
- Rash guards or swimming clothes that cover the arms and chest can be helpful when children are playing in or near the water.
- Hats with bills or a 3 inch brim can be cooler and more comfortable than a bare head in the summer and can help shield the face, ears, neck and eyes.
- Don’t forget sunglasses!
For children and teens:
- Sunscreen should be used any time a child spends time outdoors.
- Use sunscreen for sun protection, not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.
- Choose a sunscreen that states broad spectrum with a SPF of at least 15; SPFs of 15-30 work for most children, but 50 can be a good choice for a fair skinned child or infant. SPFs 70-100 do not likely offer any greater protection than 50.
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas – especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands and even backs of the knees. Each application should be 2 ounces of sunscreen (2 tablespoons) or more! Rub it in well!
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before the child goes out into the sun to allow time for the sunscreen to absorb.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Remember that no sunscreen is waterproof or sweat-proof –reapply after a child swims, sweats or uses a towel.
- Lip balm with sunscreen will help protect a child’s lips from sunburn
- Ideally, infants younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Infants should be dressed in cool, comfortable clothing with a tight weave and wear hats with brims.
- Babies do not sweat as well as big kids, so exposure to the heat of the sun may increase the risk of heatstroke and dehydration.
- Sunburn may occur easily because infant skin has less pigment than at any other time in life.
- Apply sunscreen on small areas, if needed.