How do I protect my child from a sunburn?

Sunscreens are an essential part of a day in the sun. But young children’s skin is especially sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. Purchase a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.  
  • Reapply generous amounts of the sunscreen often, especially if your child is playing in the water or sweating a lot.
  • If your child attends a daycare program, add your own SPF 30 sunscreen to his or her backpack to be sure it's safe and effective. Ask caregivers to use it whenever your child is outside, even on cloudy days. Some childcare facilities provide sunscreen, but it may not contain adequate SPF.
Children of any age need to be protected from the sun because they are at increased risk for sunburn. If your child is younger than six months, then avoid the direct sun at all costs. Their skin is not ready for sunscreen. Seek shade or stay indoors during the most dangerous sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Older children can wear a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. You should purchase a water-resistant brand if you plan to be at the pool or beach. You need to still reapply it every couple hours even if it is water-resistant, though. Also, hats and sunglasses should be worn to protect the scalp and eyes from sun damage.
  • Apply sunscreen any time your child is going to be outside for more than 30 minutes–especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the summertime.
  • Use sunscreen, shirts with long sleeves, long pants and a hat with a brim.
  • Limit times around water, sand and snow since the reflection will increase your child’s exposure to the sun.
  • Remember: using only a hat or an umbrella will not protect your child from reflected rays.
  • Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that are ANSI approved with  95-100 percent UVA and UVB blockage.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure for infants 6 months old and younger.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.