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Pregnancy and baby

Sun safety for children

How do I keep my child safe in the sun? (9 to 30 months)

Media last reviewed: 17/01/2015

Next review due: 17/01/2017

Exposing your child to too much sun may increase their risk of skin cancer later in life.

Sunburn can also cause considerable pain and discomfort in the short term.

That's why babies and children need to have their skin protected between March and October in the UK.

Tips to keep you child safe in the sun

  • Encourage your child to play in the shade – for example, under trees – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
  • Cover exposed parts of your child's skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don't forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks, and the tops of their feet. Reapply often throughout the day.
  • Be especially careful to protect your child's shoulders and the back of their neck when they're playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.
  • Cover your child up in loose cotton clothes, such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
  • Get your child to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.
  • Protect your child's eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the "CE" mark – check the label.
  • If your child is swimming, use a waterproof sunblock of factor 15 or above. Reapply after towelling.

Read more about summer safety for younger children.

Sunlight and vitamin D

The best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on our skin. Because it's important to keep your child's skin safe in the sun, it's recommended all babies and young children aged six months to five years should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D, in the form of vitamin drops.

See more about vitamin D for babies and young children.

How to apply sunscreen

An expert explains why it is important to protect your skin from sunburn to help avoid skin cancer. She also gives advice on how to apply sunscreen correctly and what to look out for when buying sun cream.

Media last reviewed: 03/05/2016

Next review due: 03/05/2018

Page last reviewed: 13/01/2016

Next review due: 13/01/2018

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