Sun tips for babies and kids
Babies have delicate skin which can be easily damaged by UVR from the sun.
UVR can cause painful sunburn and lead to freckles and increased risk of skin cancer.
Play it safe and protect your baby everyday. Even on cloudy days, UVR levels can be dangerously high.
UVR is less intense in winter but can still damage your baby's skin.
Does my baby need sunlight?
- Some sunlight is important for good health. However, babies should not be deliberately exposed to the sun.
- Sunlight is not an effective treatment for jaundice or nappy rash. To heal nappy rash you need fresh air not sunlight. If your baby requires treatment for jaundice it should be carried out in hospital under medical supervision. Do not put your baby in the sun to treat jaundice.
Babies and vitamin D
- Sunlight plays an important role in the production of vitamin D - which is essential for healthy and normal bone growth. But, intentionally exposing your baby to the sun is not recommended.
- Even when well protected, your baby will get enough sunlight for healthy growth.
Sunscreen and my baby
- There is no evidence that sunscreen used on small areas of a baby's skin has any harmful effects.
- No sunscreen provides 100% protection so babies should be well protected from UVR by clothing, hats and shade.
- You only need to use sunscreen on very small areas of a baby's skin e.g. under the chin, on the feet and forearms.
- Sunscreen should always be used according to the manufacturer's instructions and should not be used to extend time in the sun.
- Allergies to sunscreen are rare. Some babies may develop a minor skin irritation from sunscreen that is most likely a result of perfumes or fragrances in the product rather than the chemicals in the sunscreen base.
- If your baby's skin reacts to your sunscreen, try another product or speak to your doctor.
- If you are using a sunscreen that contains DEET always follow manufacturers instructions.
Tips for protecting children from the sun
- Avoid sun in the middle of the day
Plan the day's activities to reduce your baby's exposure to the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm in daylight saving time.
- Dress children in sun smart clothing and sunglasses
Cover as much of your baby's skin with loose-fitting clothes made from closely-woven fabrics. Choose a hat that protects your baby's face, neck and ears.
- Keep little ones in the shade
Encourage children to play in shaded areas. If good natural shade is unavailable consider building a permanent or portable shade structure. The structure should be big enough so that children can play comfortably within the shadow. Provide shade for your baby's pram and stroller with material that casts a dark shadow.
- Always use sunscreen
- Keep babies out of the sun
Aim to keep babies out of the sun as much as possible especially during the times of peak UVR.
- Protect your baby from sunburn in the car
Glass reduces the transmission of most UVR, but not all, therefore your baby will still need protection on long trips in the car. Window shades or tinting provide extra protection.
Tips provided by The Cancer Council of New South Wales. For more information go to - www.cancercouncil.com.au