Sun Protection For Babies & Children

Protecting your babies and children from the sun is paramount to keeping them safe from serious burns, skin damage and experiencing sunstroke. A young child burning their skin is more than just having burnt and red skin for a few days. According to skin care charity Skcin, one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma in later life. The damage is irreparable. But the good news is, all of this is totally preventable!

There’s many questions surrounding suncream usage, babies and young children. So, after attending a talk with Dermalogica and Skcin, we’re answering all the questions to help you keep your little ones safe and protected in the sun this summer.

Can Babies Wear Suncream?

Babies have the most sensitive and vulnerable skin and need to be fully protected when in the sun. The NHS advises that babies under 6 months should be completely kept out of direct sunlight. If you’re out and about, make sure your pram has a parasol and they’re wearing a wide brimmed hat. However, if shade is unavailable then it’s okay to apply a minimal amount of baby friendly SPF 30 or 50 to small areas of your baby’s body, such as the face, the back of the hands, and the tops of the feet, starting when the child is a newborn.

Sun Protection For Babies Over 6 Months & Children

Whilst you should always try to keep babies and children out of the direct sunlight and in the shade during the hottest times of the day, there are times when this is unavoidable.

A minimum SPF of 30 (ideally SPF 50) suncream should always be used. When purchasing the suncream look for a broad spectrum suncream. This means that it provides both UVA and UVB protection. Ideally, opt for one that is UVA rated 5 or 4 star. When applying suncream, apply liberally to ensure full coverage. Don’t forget those areas such as the shoulders, ears, nose, cheeks and feet which can easily be missed.

Suncream should be applied 20 minutes before children go outside so it has properly been absorbed. Then further application at least every 2 hours. But if they have been active, swimming or dried off then it should be reapplied immediately after.

Where possible, keep toddlers and babies in the shade as much as possible, particularly when abroad. Use UV protective sun-suits and broad brimmed or legionnaire hates for added protection.

Don’t forget to ensure they are protected prior to going to school or nursery and throughout the day during school/pre-school hours!

As always, make sure they stay hydrated too! This is so important to ensure they stay cool and comfortable and stops them from getting sunstroke or heat exhaustion. For a summer full of adventures, travel and fun, you might also want to take a look at our tips for keeping your newborn baby cool this summer.

Photo of author
Susan Sage
Susan Sage is a dedicated mother of two, whose journey through parenthood has fueled her passion for sharing knowledge and expertise with other parents. Her articles are a treasure trove of insights, offering practical advice, emotional support, and innovative ideas to help parents navigate the complexities of raising children in today's world.