Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.
From March to October in the UK, children should:
- cover up with suitable clothing
- spend time in the shade – particularly from 11am to 3pm
- Apply childrens Factor 50 suncream
- Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet, and backs of hands.
- If your child is swimming, use a waterproof sunblock of factor 15 or above. Reapply after towelling.
- Protect your child's eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the CE mark – check the label.
- Get your child to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.
- Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
- Be especially careful to protect your child's shoulders and the back of their neck when they're playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.
- Cover exposed parts of your child's skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don't forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks, and the tops of their feet. Reapply often throughout the day.
- Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
- Encourage your child to play in the shade – for example, under trees – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
The best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on our skin. Because it's important to keep your child's skin safe in the sun, it's recommended all babies and young children aged six months to five years should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D, in the form of vitamin drops.