Keeping children safe in the sun

Date: 12 May 2016

Summer is coming and whilst we all enjoy the wonderful weather it is important to remember to keep your children safe in the sun! Children’s skin is delicate and can be very easily damaged by the sun.

All children, no matter whether they tan easily or not, should be protected from the sun. Even on cloudy days, unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes, yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. So, if your child’s skin looks ‘a little pink’ today, it may be burnt by tomorrow morning.

Bright Horizons, as experienced childcare professionals, are here to give some tips and advice.

Bright Horizons Tips:

Shade - It is always important to provide areas of shade, under trees, umbrellas or canopies, especially for babies who should be kept out of direct sunlight. The sun is usually at its most intense between 11am and 3pm, so shade is even more important during this time.

Cover up - When outdoors, protect your child’s skin with loose-fitting clothes, and a wide-brimmed hat that shades their face, neck and ears. Sunglasses are also important to protect their eyes.

Sunscreen - Use at least a factor 30 sunscreen and choose a broad-spectrum brand that has a four or five-star rating. It’s important to choose sunscreens that are formulated for children’s and baby’s skin as these products are less likely to contain alcohol or fragrances that might irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions. Apply the sunscreen to areas that cannot be protected by clothing, such as the face, neck, ears, feet and backs of hands. Apply sunscreen generously and regularly often throughout the day, as sunscreen can easily be washed off, rubbed or sweated off the body.

Sunglasses – Children’s eyes are more sensitive to UV light than those of adults, so it is vital that they are protected. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses for your child with 100% UV filtration (toy sunglasses may provide no protection at all) and also a wide-brimmed hat.

Healthy and hydrated – Make sure your child drinks plenty of water.

As part of Bright Horizons' commitment of Keeping Everyone Safe, there is a Sun Protection Policy in all of our nurseries, that your nursery manager will be happy to discuss with you.  We make sure that throughout the day sunscreen is applied to each child at least twenty minutes prior to playing in the sun.  We also recommend that you bring a sun hat to nursery for your child, ensuring that it protects the face, the head and nape of the neck. We do have spare hats, but children are generally much happier wearing their own.

Further information can be found through British Skin Foundation and  Cancer Research UK's "SunSmart" Campaign.