Sunscreen for Kids: The Dos and Don’ts

Sun protection is important for everyone all year round. But protecting kids and babies from sun damage and harmful UV rays is essential. Limiting sun exposure, choosing a safe sunscreen for kids and selecting the right baby sunscreen are crucial steps in helping to keep your kids safe all year long and lowering the risk of skin cancer in the long run.

What every parent should know

Children’s skin is much more vulnerable to the sun than adults’ skin. In fact, around 40% to 50% of total UV up until age 60 occurs before the age of 20. And sun protection isn’t just something to think about during the summer as UV rays are present all year round, no matter the season. Children are exposed to UV rays during all types of outdoor activities, like playing in the park or on the school playground or engaging in sports. UVA can even penetrate glass and clouds!

When children get too much sun, they can develop a sunburn, which is very painful in the short-term, of course, but its long-term effects are even more worrisome. Studies have shown that five blistering sunburns before the age of 20 can increase someone’s risk of melanoma by a staggering 80%. That’s why it’s essential to find smart ways to protect your children’s skin from the potential harm caused by sun exposure. Don’t forget that sun exposure is incremental: Every little bit adds up and can increase their skin cancer risk over time. The good news? By teaching your children sun-safe behaviors today, you are actively protecting their skin’s health now and in the future.

What is the best sunscreen for babies?

Infants under six months old should be completely kept out of the sun, as their skin is too fragile for sun exposure. Babies over 6 months and toddlers under three years old should limit sun exposure from 11am-3pm and avoid the sun completely between noon and 2pm. Because their skin is so vulnerable to the sun, they should be kept in the shade while wearing protective clothing and using broad-spectrum sun protection on any exposed areas. Children over six months old can use La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo-Kids Lotion SPF 50 for Face and Body. This broad-spectrum UVA-UVB face and body sun protection is tested under dermatological and pediatric control and provides advanced protection using ingredients specifically selected for children’s sensitive skin.

What is the best sunscreen for kids?

Kids’ skin should be protected with a broad-spectrum UVA-UVB sunscreen that offers a minumum of SPF 30 when they are out in the sun or even when it’s cloudy. Sunscreen should be applied before any outdoor activities and cover all exposed areas. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo-Kids Lotion SPF 50 for Face and Body offers broad-spectrum protection for face and body and is developed specifically for kids. This UVA-UVB face and body sun protection is tested under dermatological and pediatric control and provides advanced protection using ingredients that have been selected for children’s sensitive skin. This sunscreen is perfect for children who are six months or older.

The dos and don’ts

DO:

  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen developed specifically for kids’ skin on children aged six months or older.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 whenever kids are outside, even on cloudy days.
  • Keep babies under six months old completely out of the sun.
  • Limit sun exposure from 11am to 3 pm for babies over 6 months and toddlers under three years old and avoid the sun completely between noon and 2pm.
  • Use protective clothing, including long-sleeved T-shirts and trousers (in dark-coloured tightly woven fabrics), a wide-brimmed hat (ideal to protect the face, ears and neck) and wrap-around sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection.
  • Make sure you’re using enough sunscreen: A golf ball-size amount of sunscreen is needed to protect the whole body.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours of sun exposure, or after swimming or excessive sweating, to ensure optimal protection.
  • Seek shade at peak times of UV exposure, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Teach children to “read their shadow” and stay in the shade if their shadow is smaller than they are. Shade can be provided by trees, parasols, pop-up tents, etc.

DON'T:

  • Allow babies under six months old to have any direct exposure to the sun.
  • Skip sunscreen on cloudy days.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of less than 30 on kids and babies.
  • Forget areas such as the ears, nose, lips, back of the neck, hands and feet.

For more sun-safety tips that all parents should know, click here.

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