5 Tips to Practice Sun Safety with Young Children

As we enter the hot summer days, it is vital to remember the importance of sun safety. Janie M. Leathers, Medical Student at University of Missouri School of Medicine, shares five important tips to practice sun safety with your young child in this blog post.

By: Janie M. Leathers, Medical Student, University of Missouri School of Medicine

Children, especially infants and toddlers, have more sensitive skin than adults. Caregivers should ensure sun protective measures for children and encourage healthy habits that could have lifelong benefits. Some ways to become sun safe are explained below.

Sun Safety Tip #1: Sunscreen use varies by age

Sunscreen is not recommended for infants aged 6 months or younger. The best sun safety method for this age group includes keeping them in the shade, wide brim hats, and protective long sleeve clothing.
Sunscreen can be used in infants older than 6 months and children. A mineral based sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended. Mineral based sunscreens include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients allow the sunscreen to deflect sun rays.

Sun Safety Tip #2: Take advantage of shade

Shade can be provided by a tree, a building, or an umbrella. You can create shade over your child’s favorite outside play areas by using a tarp or blanket. Shade covers can be put onto strollers and car seats.

Sun Safety Tip #3: Smart planning with the timing of your daily activities

Plan to be inside during the middle of the day when the sun is the most intense. Moving outside activities to the morning or evening will reduce sun exposure. Planning to go swimming when the pool is covered by shade is a great way to enjoy summer activities while being sun safe.

Sun Safety Tip #4: Dress your child in protective clothing

Wide brim hats are a great way to protect the face, neck, and shoulders from sun exposure. Long sleeve clothing protects children’s arms, back, and legs from sun exposure. Clothing made from tightly woven fabric is the best form of protective clothing.

Sun Safety Tip #5: Choose sunglasses with UV protection

Sunglasses listed as 100% UV protection reduce the amount of UVA and UVB sun rays reaching the eyes. Sunglasses labeled as 100% UV 400 are also adequate for sun protection. Sunglasses labeled as polarized lenses do not offer protection from the sun.

Resources to Learn More

  • Centers for Disease Control: Sun Safety – https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
  • Sun Smart – https://www.sunsmart.com.au/advice-for/schools-early-childhood/education-resources
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency: Sun Safety – https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety

Resources Used for This Article

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2022, September 7). Sunscreen FAQs. Retrieved March 14, 2023. https://www.aad.org/media/stats-sunscreen
  2. UCLA Health. (2022, July 26) Protect Your Peepers: How to chose the best sunglasses for eye health. Retrieved March 14, 2023. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/protect-your-peepers-how-to-choose-the-best-sunglasses-for-eye-health#:~:text=Look%20for%20sunglasses%20that%20offer,with%20a%20UV%20light%20meter