You can never be too careful when it comes to sun safety for kids. Although we all know that children need to be protected against the sun, familiarizing yourself on the details (such as what SPF to use) could make all the difference. Use this as a guide for keeping your kids happy and healthy through the summer months (and don’t forget to follow the advice for yourself, too).
Sun Safety for Kids: Stay in the Shade
We all know that sunscreen is essential for protection against harmful rays. However, the number one rule when it comes to sun safety for kids is to stay out of the sun altogether. Sunscreen should only be used as a last resort, and not as an excuse to stay in the sun for longer! Try to seek shade or create it with an umbrella between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm when the sun is at its strongest.
We have a pop-up sun tent that we use when we’re going to be in a place without natural shade – it’s a great way to stay out of the direct rays of the sun while still enjoying being outdoors!
Sun Safety for Kids: Wear Sunscreen
It can be difficult to keep kids in the shade for too long, so be sure to protect them with sunscreen while they’re playing outdoors. Help avoid this risk by using SPF 30 or above for children aged 6 months or over, and always use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Reapply once every couple of hours, and after swimming (even if using waterproof sunscreen).
If you’re worried about the chemicals in store-bought sunscreen, you can use this homemade sunscreen recipe that only contains natural ingredients and has an SPF of 40+.
We made our own “spray on” sunscreen by adding 20 drops of carrot seed oil to Lavaderm.
[Want to learn more about using essential oils in your home?]
Sun Safety for Kids: Wear Protective Clothing
Another easy way to protect your children from the sun is through the clothing they wear. Start by making sure they wear a sun hat whenever they’re going to be in the sun for any length of time. These protect vulnerable areas such as the face, ears, and neck (that are often missed by sunscreen). Wearing long clothing will also help to protect your child’s skin, though not all clothing is created equal.
You can buy specific clothing for the sun, sold with a UPF rating to help determine how much sunlight gets through. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or above. You should use sunscreen in combination with standard clothing to get maximum protection against the sun’s rays.
All of our kids wear rashguard swim shirts when they’re going to be in the sun and/or in the water for any length of time. It’s an easy way to limit the amount of skin exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.
Sun Safety for Kids: Don’t Forget The Eyes
Your kids should be wearing sunglasses, too! Long term exposure to the sun can increase the chance of cataracts, so make sure your kids are protected with sunglasses offering 100% UV protection (not just any darkened lenses).
Sun safety for kids is even more important than for adults.
A child’s skin is especially delicate, and overexposure to the sun in early years can have a huge impact on their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Remember, the sun’s rays can still do harm even on a cloudy day, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!