Sun Safety

As the warmer weather arrives, it is a good time for a reminder about protecting your children (and yourself) from the sun’s rays. Children’s eyes and skin are extra sensitive. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can lead to skin damage, dehydration, heat stroke, and increase the risk of skin cancer, eye cancer, and lip cancer, as well as damage to your vision and cataracts later in life. 


Tips on how to stay sun-safe:

  • Seek shade or bring your own (i.e. an umbrella)
  • Limit time in the sun when the UV index is 3 or higher, usually between 11am-3pm.
  • Teach children the ‘Shadow Rule’. If their shadow is shorter than they are, sun rays are very strong and sun protection is especially important!
  • Babies less than 12 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep babies in the shade, under a tree or umbrella, or use a stroller with a sunshade.


Sun Protection

  • Use ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant’ sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply generously to all exposed skin, avoiding the mouth and eyes.
  • Don’t forget commonly missed spots like the top of feet, back of the neck, ears and back of the hands.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
  • Lips need protection too! Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher. 
  • Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months of age, so keep them covered and in the shade.


Sun Clothing/Accessories

  • Ensure children wear close fitting sunglasses with the labels UV 400 or 100% UV protection when outdoors. 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed cap that shades the head, face, ears and back of the neck.
  • Look for special UPF (Ultraviolet Protective Factor) clothing or tightly woven fabric for added protection.


As we all age, it is important to regularly inspect skin for any unusual moles, freckles, or changes in existing spots.  Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. Early detection is the key to success if any treatment is needed. 

By following these simple sun safety tips, we can help to keep our children from being harmed by the sun’s UV rays. Teaching children about sun safety when they are young will encourage healthy habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.


For more information:


Submitted by Daniel Neamtu WFN - 4 for the Middlesex-London Health Unit


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