The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) currently runs a national campaign around skin cancer called Sun Awareness, which includes national Sun Awareness Week in May 3rd-9th 2021. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays, but you don’t have to avoid the sun completely to protect your children from the sun.

Children don’t have to be at the swimming pool, beach, or on holiday to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they’re outdoors, whether in the summer or in the winter snow.

Too Much Sun Hurts

Turning pink? Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. So, if your child’s skin looks “a little pink” today, it may be burned tomorrow morning. To prevent further burning, get your child out of the sun.

Tan? There’s no other way to say it—tanning your skin is damaging skin. Any change in the color of your child’s skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays.

Cool and cloudy? Children still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays, they filter them—and sometimes only slightly.

Oops! Children often get sunburned when they are outdoors unprotected for longer than expected. Remember to plan ahead, and keep sun protection handy—in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.

Here are 5 ways to protect your children from the sun:

#1 Seek shade

protect your children from the sun

Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, the sun is at its strongest, so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. Remember to use shade to prevent sunburn, not to seek relief after it’s happened.

#2 Cover up

protect your children from the sun

When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colours may offer more protection than lighter colours. If possible, get them to wear UV Protective Clothing: many companies now offer clothing that is light, breathable and will protect them against harmful UV rays.

#3 Get a hat

Hats that shade the nose, forehead, ears, and neck are easy to use and give great protection. Baseball caps are popular among children, but they don’t protect their ears and neck. If your child chooses a cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sun cream.

Have a child who hates wearing a hat? We love these colour in caps which are perfect for them to design themselves and are then more likely to wear. Inspire their creativity and help protect them from the sun!

#4 Wear sunglasses

protect your children from the sun

They protect your child’s eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. Make sure you check the label, before you buy them – often cheaper options do not provide great protection.

#5 Apply sunscreen

protect your children from the sun

Use sun scream with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet. Reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or towelling off. Don’t forget to give them a good cover in the morning before heading to school!

Not sure which to buy to help protect your children from the sun? Check out SPF, UVA and UVB: Suncreams Explained for lots of information.

If you like our blog, you’ll like our newsletter even more!

For special offers, new product news and top tips, sign up to our newsletter below.