little girl playing at the beach

Playing outside is a great way for children to get physical activity. Remember, not only can too much sun cause unpleasant burns, but it also increases the risk of development of skin cancer. Whenever your child is outside, use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 (SPF of 15-30 should be fine for most people). It is important to choose a product with “broad-spectrum” on its label- this means it will protect against both UVB and UVA rays. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours and after being in the water or sweating. Remember, the UV from the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Also, you can get sunburned even on cloudy days, so make a habit of putting sunscreen on your kids every day they go outside.

When possible, dress your children in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body. Don’t forget hats and sunglasses!

Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If adequate shade and protective clothing are not available, it is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months if there is no way to avoid the direct sunlight.

Be sure to encourage your children to drink plenty of water while outside, even if they aren’t thirsty- dehydration can occur quickly when out in the heat! A good rule of thumb is to have your child drink 4 oz (or 4 big gulps of water) for every 20 minutes of physical activity/time in the sun.

Take frequent breaks inside or in the shade to cool off.

If sunburn occurs, apply cool compresses to the affected area or bathe your child in cool water. If the sunburn causes blisters, fever, chills, or a general feeling of illness, call your pediatrician right away!

Sunscreen Tips and Tricks: Applying sunscreen correctly is crucial for effective sun protection. Help your children develop healthy habits by involving them in the process. Let them choose a sunscreen with a fun design or their favorite scent to make it more appealing. Encourage them to participate in the application, teaching them how to cover all exposed areas, including ears, neck, and the back of their legs. Consider using spray or stick sunscreens for easier and more enjoyable application. By making sunscreen part of their routine, you’ll instill lifelong habits of sun safety.

fun in the sun