15 Ways to Keep Your Kids Sun Safe

Did you know that roughly 2 in 3 Australians will get a skin cancer diagnosis before they reach age 70? With the skyrocketing rates of skin cancer, it's no wonder Australia has the title of the skin cancer capital of the world. It makes sense that parents wonder how to keep kids sun safe and prevent sunburn while they're outside. But you're not alone, and we've picked out 15 ways you can keep your kid sun safe all year round.

1. Put on Extra Layers of Sunscreen

Kids in the water or who sweat need a reapplication of their sunscreen sooner. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before they go in the sun. Also, to prevent sunburn, you want to put an ounce of SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to every area of the body that has exposure to the sun.

2. Limit Outside Playtime Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

UV rays are at their strongest between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. You want to limit your child's exposure to the sun at this time if it's possible. This includes on cloudy or overcast days. If they have to be out, make sure they play in the shade.

3. Protect Eyes and Lips

Your child's lips and eyelids can get sunburned very quickly, and direct rays from the sun can hurt their eyes. Get them a pair of wraparound sunglasses to wear when they go outside to protect their eyes. For their lips, you can get a lip balm that has SPF protection to prevent lip burns.

4. Cover Your Child as Much as Possible

If your child is wearing light-coloured clothing and it gets wet, it offers no protection from the sun. Choose dark colours with longer sleeves, a floppy hat, sunglasses, pants or longer shorts and a long umbrella for those beach trips. Also, apply sunscreen to any exposed areas to prevent accidental sunburns.

5. Play in the Shade

Most parks or child-friendly outdoor areas have both shaded and sun-exposed areas. Encourage your child to spend most of their time playing in the shade, especially during peak hours. Once the sun starts to go down, your child can play in the open areas because the risk of sunburn dramatically decreases.

6. Be Mindful of Medications

Some medications increase your body's sensitivity to the sun, and this means that your child may get a sunburn even with higher SPF protection. Certain essential oils, acne creams, lotions and medical conditions also increase this sensitivity. Make sure you pay attention to any labels, and you want to ask your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

7. Carry a Sun Safety Kit

You should always have a sun safety kit with you every time your kid goes outside. This kit should have sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, a long-sleeved, dark-coloured shirt, a wide-brimmed hat, lip balm with SPF 30 or higher and sunglasses that offer UV protection to prevent corneal burns.

8. Reapply Sunscreen Regularly

Most kids hate to sit still long enough to get sunscreen put on, but it's important. If your child isn't swimming or sweating, reapply the sunscreen every two hours. If they are in the water or sweating a lot, you should apply it every hour or so to keep them protected.

9. Be Careful Around Water

Water is a reflective surface, and this is especially true for the sun's rays. They're stronger around the water, and you need to be mindful of this. This means that you want to apply a higher SPF sunscreen and apply it more often if you spend the day at the beach.

10. Get Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

When you pick out a sunscreen, look for it to say that it's broad spectrum. This type of sunscreen protects your child against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, make sure that it's a water-resistant sunscreen, whether your child is around water or not, to ensure they get enough protection.

11. Keep Babies Out of the Sun

Babies and any children under six months old shouldn't be in the direct sunlight to prevent sunburn. This includes babies and small children wearing sunscreen. You can bring them out for short periods after the peak hours, but this should be short periods as well.

12. Recognize the Start of a Sunburn

Did you know that it can take up to 12 hours for the full extent of a sunburn to show up? If your child starts to look a little pink, bring them out of the sun. This light pink can get very red in a very short time.

13. Have a Lot of Water Readily Available

Keeping your kids hydrated when they're out in the sun can help protect them from dehydration and sunstroke. Make sure they're taking time to drink when they're playing. Also, have them come in the shade from time to time to prevent overheating.

14. Pay Attention to the UV Index Forecast

The UV Index Forecast tells you how harsh the sun is going to be for a particular day. Any UV forecast over three requires sunscreen, and anything over eight requires additional layers of protection. Check this before you send your child out to play and plan accordingly.

15. Follow Sun Safety Rules Yourself

Children mimic what they see, and you can teach them good sun safety habits from the time they're young. Always wear your sunscreen when you go out, bring a hat and sunglasses and spend time in the shade. Your children will pick up these habits and be healthier for it.

Contact 13Cure for More Tips or to Book an Appointment! Now you know 15 ways how to keep kids sun safe and avoid sunburn. If you'd like more tips or if you have questions, you can reach out and get in touch with our staff! We're on hand and ready to help you keep your kid safe in the sun all year round!

Name: Dr. Muhammad Mohsin, General Practitioner

University Degree: MBBS, AMC

Bio: Dr. Muhammad Mohsin completed his studies from Univerisity of Health Sciences, Lahore Pakistan in 2008. He came to Australia in 2012 and has worked as a resident and GP in various hospitals and medical centres across Australia. He has a particular interest in men's health, travels medicine, chronic disease management, and general family medicine.