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Protecting Your Child From Sunburn

Approximately 60 to 80 percent of our exposure to the sun takes place before we reach the age of 18. This is because children tend to spend more time outside than do adults. The more you are exposed to the sun before the age of 18 the greater your likelihood of developing skin cancer in the future.

Why do children need to be protected from the sun's burning rays?

  • An excessive amount of sunburn is particularly bad for babies and young children and their skin burns easily so keep them out of the direct sunlight as much as possible.
  • Some children have skin that is sensitive to the sun’s rays and they can develop a type of rash when they are outdoors in the sun for too long.
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  • Being smart about sun safety is important to help protect against developing a painful sunburn.
  • Sometimes a breeze can come up or the sun can slip behind a cloud for a short period of time and therefore the fact that a child is getting a sunburn is not as easily recognized.

How to protect your children from getting a sunburn:

  • Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight, while children with fair skin can burn very quickly. Blond haired, blue-eyed individuals with light skin burn the quickest.
  • Children should always be encouraged by their parents to play in the shade while they are outdoors, and they should always wear sun protective clothing such as long sleeved tops and long pants when they are outdoors. A hat with a wide brim can control part of the sun's rays.
  • Make sure your child always apply sunscreen a half an hour before he or she goes outside to play. It is recommended that half a handful is used which works out to be approximately 20 milliliters.
  • Even during the winter months your child can be prone to sunburn.


  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied often (approximately every two hours).
  • The longer you spend outdoors the more you need to apply.
  • Apply before and after If you go into the water or perspire excessively. Sunscreen can also come off the skin easily if it is wiped or rubbed with a towel.
  • Sunscreen is important, but it is not a miracle worker.

The sun’s rays tend to be the strongest and most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (some experts say 10AM to 4PM). It is best to limit a child’s time in the sun during these hours. It is even better to keep children out of the sun all together during these times of the day.

Children should always wear a sunscreen with a high SPF such as SPF 30. Look for a sunscreen that is a broad-spectrum sunscreen because this type of sunscreen blocks both UVA as well as UVB rays.

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