Young skin is especially sensitive to sunburn and various studies have highlighted the link between getting badly sunburnt as a child or adolescent and an increased chance of developing skin cancer later in life. So sun safety needs to start young.
Here are our top tips to keep littlies safe in the sun.
- Make sunscreen part of your child’s daily routine just like brushing teeth or washing hands. Keep it visible on the bathroom or kitchen bench, so your children always know where it is.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 30. Check that it is suitable for children – most sunscreens will specify this.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before they are going outside and don’t rub it in till it disappears.
- Put a bit of fun into sunscreen application. Make it a race by using a timer; dot the sunscreen on to their skin and get them to spread it round by joining the dots; let them pretend it’s body paint and go a bit crazy with it. For toddlers try singing a song or making funny faces as you apply.
- Don’t forget to apply to the backs of necks; tops of ears, tops of feet.
- Remember to re-apply at least every couple of hours or more often if after swimming.
- Pop a tube in their kindy bag or school bag so they can reapply at break time.
- Sunscreen alone is not enough. So get them to wear hats; cover up; and stay in the shade where possible, especially during peak burn times (10.30AM – 4.00PM).
- You may use sunscreen on toddlers and babies 6 months or older. But for babies under 6 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using other forms of sun protection, such as shade or clothing.
And finally, kids learn quickly. Tell them and show them how important it is to wear sunscreen; hats and and cover up and you’ll be setting them up with good sun safety habits for life.