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Sun care for babies and children

Sun care for babies and children

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Summer is finally with us and with it we’ll hopefully see lots of sunshine. It’s great to spend time outdoors when the weather’s nice and to do so healthily means taking care of our skin. Babies and children’s skin is particularly sensitive and so needs extra protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

Why do kids need protection?

The sun sends down ultraviolet radiation in the form of UVA and UVB rays. These can be harmful in a number of ways. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVBs and are responsible for premature aging and wrinkling. They can also contribute to and initiate skin cancer. UVB rays damage the outer layers of the skin and cause sunburn or redness. They are key to the developing of skin cancer. Protecting children from the effects of these rays will help them stay healthy and avoid painful sunburn.


The most effective form of protection is to stay out of the sun. Find a shaded spot to enjoy the heat, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you’re on holiday somewhere hot then use this time to grab some lunch indoors or enjoy a little siesta to refresh you for the evening.

Cover up

Contrary to common belief, loose clothing can actually be cooler than wearing very little. Cover kids’ sensitive skin with light t-shirts and baggy shorts. A sun hat is a must to keep rays off the face and sunglasses will help protect the eyes. If you’re at the beach or splashing around in water then UV swimming costumes can keep your little ones covered while still being suitable for in the water.

Sun cream

Sun care for babies and childrenSun cream can be a pretty confusing business as there are so many on the market to choose from. While adults should always wear a cream with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or above, when it comes to children the higher the SPF the better. SPF refers to the protection against UVB rays so it’s important to choose a sunscreen that also provides a high level of protection against UVA rays. In the UK this is shown as a star rating. Creams will be labelled with between one and five stars, with five offering the most protection. Make sure the cream hasn’t past its expiration date and reapply frequently, especially after swimming.


It is recommended that babies under six months old are kept out of the sun completely so use a parasol to help keep very young children in the shade. Once they hit six months it is safe to allow babies out in the sun but only for very short periods of time and only wearing protective sun cream. The amount of sun your child is exposed to should be increased gradually but to be on the safe side, it’s best to keep babies in shaded areas.

Prickly heat

Because their sweat glands aren’t yet fully developed, babies and young children are at a greater risk of getting prickly heat. This is an itchy rash of small red spots on the skin. It’s not usually serious but it can be uncomfortable. A prickly heat rash should disappear on its own within a few days but there are some things you can do to make your child more comfortable. These include dressing in light cotton clothing, keeping the skin cool, staying in the shade and using calamine lotion.

Slip, slop, slap

The famous Australian saying actually gives the perfect advice for protecting yourself and your kids against the harmful rays of the sun. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sun cream and slap on a hat. Do all of this religiously and you’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine knowing that you’re doing everything you can to keep your children safe.







About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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