Enjoying the fresh air and sunshine with your child is healthy and fun – but it is important to make sure babies and young children never burn. Outlook® sunshades are endorsed by the Skin and Cancer Foundation Australia, so you can feel confident you have the best child sun protection. The key measures you should take to protect your child are:
Keep babies in the complete shade
- Never leave your baby in the sun
- At home and abroad, babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight
- Plan outdoor trips to avoid peak UV times – usually between 11am and 3pm
- If you are going out, seek shade cast by buildings, trees, canopies and parasols
- Place play-areas and paddling pools in a shady position in the garden, or provide temporary shade structures
Cover up in a sun hat and protective clothing
Nothing beats putting something between sun and skin:
- Find a wide-brimmed or legionnaire style sun hat your child likes. Start young so they accept wearing a sunhat more readily.
- Dress them in loose-fitting and preferably long sleeved clothing. The closer the weave of the fabric, and the darker the colour, the better the protection against UV radiation.
- Wet clothing stretches and can lose up to half of its UV protection – put children in dry clothing after playing in water.
- At the beach, dress them in sun-protective swimsuits.
Apply factor 15+ sunscreen
- Liberally apply a SPF15+ sunscreen (or higher) around 20 minutes before going out (it doesn’t work immediately).
- Choose a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen, which means it protects against both types of harmful UV radiation – UVA and UVB.
- Use it only on exposed skin on small babies (such as hands, face, ears). On older children, use it generously and re-apply regularly.
- Apply waterproof sunscreen when your toddler is swimming or playing with water, and reapply after towelling.
- Do not let them stay out all day even if they’ve got sunscreen on.
Use good quality sunglasses
- Protect your child’s eyes from UV damage by using 100% UV blocking wraparound sunglasses, as soon as they can wear them. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive brands, but toy sunglasses can do more harm than good.
- When in the buggy or pram use the shade-a-babe to protect delicate eyes as well as skin. It acts rather like a pair of good quality sunglasses – protecting eyes from strong sun and glare yet allowing your child a good all round view
- Sunglasses are not practical or necessary for babies that are properly shaded and protected, although it is a good idea to get them used to wearing them.
- Choose UV goggles when your child is swimming outdoors.
Provide effective shade for prams and buggies
- Traditional parasols provide very little protection. Use the shade-a-babe™ or another Outlook shade to provide an extra layer of protection when you are out and about. Park the pushchair in the shade turned away from the sun. Don’t leave your child in a stationary pushchair for long periods (they may overheat), and never leave your child unattended.
- In the car, you can shield your baby from direct sunlight by using the Outlook® auto-shade. This shades the whole rear window to give effective protection from UV, glare, heat and insects and is also useful for creating a cool, shady environment when your child needs a nap.
Make sure they drink plenty of fluids
Always make sure your child gets plenty of water or other fluids to drink on hot days, as it helps keeps them cool and fully hydrated.
Remember they can burn in the UK
Be sun-safe every day, even in the UK – children can easily get burnt by the British summer sun.
- Take care to protect your children throughout the summer. Most damage occurs due to over-exposure to the sun during normal day to day activities such as playing in the garden and trips to the shops.
- The damage which leads to skin cancer isn’t caused by the heat in the sun’s rays, but by ultraviolet radiation, or UV – which isn’t hot and cannot be seen or felt. UV can also get through clouds – so they can still burn on cool days.
- Some UV radiation reaches us directly from the sun, but some of it reaches us indirectly. Some UV rays are reflected back from light coloured surfaces such as snow, sand, pavements and water. That’s why the shade-a-babe has a UV mesh to give protection from lower level UV rays, as well as the overhead UPF50 sun visor.
For information on how to find out the strength of UV rays from the weather forecast see the Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart UV index