Sun Safety for Kids
Infants, babies and toddlers may have thinner and more sensitive skin than adults’, so parents and caregivers need to diligently protect little ones from the sun. A few painful sunburns in childhood could double the risk of skin cancer later in life, and even when you don't see sunburn, you may still have skin damage that can pose long term risk to skin health.
Try to avoid peak sun hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and remember that even on a cloudy day the sun’s rays can still cause sunburn.
Use these tips to keep your little one safe at each stage of their early development:
Infants: Stay Out of Direct Sunlight
- Play in the Shade: Babies younger than six months should stay out of direct sunlight. Keep them indoors when possible. Outside, find shade under trees and umbrellas, and use sun shades on strollers.
- Wear Full-Coverage Clothing: Dress your baby in long-sleeved outfits that cover the whole body for additional baby sun protection. Look for tightly woven but breathable fabrics and avoid light colors, which allow more ultraviolet rays to penetrate.
- Don Baby Sun Hats: Sun hats for your infant will help shield the face, scalp, neck and eyes. Also they’re pretty cute. Sunglasses are a great addition, if your baby can keep them on.
- Sit in the Center Seat: To lessen UV exposure, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends placing car seats in the middle of the backseat and applying UV-blocking film to car windows. That middle-seat placement is also the recommended placement for impact safety.
Babies: Be Diligent with Sunscreen
- Limit Sun Exposure: When your baby is over six months, it’s still a good idea to minimize sun exposure. Special sun protective clothing such as jumpsuits and bathing suits can help protect against UV rays.
- Use a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen or sunblock (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) 15 minutes before taking your baby or toddler outside, and reapply every two hours. You should use a product labeled ‘water resistant’ if your baby is going in the water, and reapply ether every 40 minutes or 80 minutes, according to the label.
Toddlers: Sun Protection on the Go
- Grab and Go: Your active toddler may not want to sit still for sunscreen application, but it is important to be consistent. Try different forms like sprays or sticks to see what works best with your child.
- Slather it On: When using sunscreen for toddlers, be generous with how much you use. A child needs about a half-ounce of liquid sunscreen for complete coverage, and most people only apply about half as what is needed to achieve the SPF level indicated on the label.
- Keep Those Long Sleeves Handy: Protect your toddler with sun-protective or long-sleeved cotton clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Make sure that family and caregivers such as babysitters or daycare providers know the importance of sun protection.
In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit 4-H.org for more tips, ideas and activities for the entire family.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019