Become an expert in your child’s sun safety with the information below!

Children often spend a good part of their day playing outdoors in the sun, especially during the summer. Sunburn is a visible reaction of the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation or UV light sources, invisible rays that are part of sunlight. Ultraviolet rays can also cause invisible damage to the skin. Children who have fair skin, moles, or freckles, or who have a family history of skin cancer, are more likely to develop skin cancer in later years.

Exposure to the sun during daily activities and play causes the most sun damage. Overexposure to sunlight before age 18 is most damaging to the skin. UV rays are strongest during summer months when the sun is directly overhead (normally between 10:00 a.m and 4:00 p.m).

Even on a cloudy day you can still get a sunburn. Up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass through clouds.

The best way to prevent sunburn in children over 6 months of age is to follow the A, B, Cs recommended by The American Academy of Dermatology:

Away Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day. This is when the sun’s rays are the most damaging.
Block Block the sun’s rays using a SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Apply the lotion 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it often during the day. Sunscreens should not be used on infants under 6 months of age.
Cover-up Cover up using protective clothing, such as a long sleeve shirt and hat when in the sun. Use clothing with a tight weave to keep out as much sunlight as possible. Keep babies less than 6 months old out of direct sunlight at all times. Sunglasses and hats with brims are important.

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Clothing recommendations from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • An ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or higher
  • Acceptable test results according to the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists method or AS/NZS Standard
  • For a hat, in addition to the fabric requirements specified above, the hat must have a minimum 3” brim in circumference.  Hats with a 3” bill are also accepted but must have a permanently attached drape that covers the neck and ears.  Babies and toddler hats must have a minimum 2 ½” brim.