We all love the sun. It can brighten your mood, brings warmer days and makes outdoor adventures even better, but it can be quite dangerous, especially to young delicate skin. This doesn’t mean you have to hide away indoors as soon as the sun has his hat on. You can still have fun in the sun, it is just important to protect your little one’s sensitive skin from those harmful UV rays in the right ways.
Let’s take a look at what essentials you need to help protect your child from the sun, and some activities you can do at home to make learning about sun safety fun.
How to protect your child from the sun
We want to encourage children to be children and get out and about exploring this amazing world, even on sunny days. There are ways that you can make fun in the sun safer for your child with just a few simple products and actions. Here are the rules and products we use to protect our children in summer.
Wherever possible stay in the shade. There will be plenty of shade in the local parks or your garden under a big tree that you can set up camp under. If you are venturing to an area with limited shade, like the beach for example, make sure you go prepared. Pack an umbrella or a pop-up UV tent that will provide that important shade for your family. When on the move, it’s a great idea to get a parasol to attach to your little ones pushchair so they are protected whilst in their pushchair.
You can keep the sun off your child’s skin by dressing them in cool and lightweight clothes that cover their arms and legs. Cotton is perfect for summer since it’s made from a natural fibre that allows your baby’s skin to breathe easily as well as being super soft and gentle on delicate skin. Keep these clothes loose-fitting to make sure your little one isn’t overheating and stays cool.
Popping a hat on their head will help protect them from some of the UV rays on their face and scalp. We recommend choosing a wide brimmed sun hat that shades their neck and ears too. If your little one is a fussy customer and loves pulling their hat off, it’s a good idea to opt for one with a strap that tucks under their chin to help secure it.
Sunglasses will protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV damage, and they will look super cute too! Children and babies don’t process UV rays as effectively as adults which can result in potential problems down the line if you don’t protect their eyes early on. Choose sunglasses with 100% UVB/UVA protection to give them maximum protection. You can always buy a silicone strap to help them from slipping off. Check out our tips for getting children to keep their sunglasses on here.
Applying sun cream is a no brainer! The British Skin Foundation recommends that children should use a minimum SPF30 sun cream with UVA protection, but we believe the higher the SPF the better. Sun cream should be applied 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and re-applied every couple of hours throughout the day. Re-apply if your child has been playing in the water.
It is important to remember, children under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunshine completely, as their lack of melanin means they are especially prone to sun damage. Their skin is also too sensitive for the chemicals in sun cream so it’s best to avoid applying sun cream until after 6 months and keep them fully protected by shade.
Teach children about sun safety
We know what we need to do protect us from the sun, but it can be another thing getting your children to agree. We thought we would share some ideas that can make sun safety fun and help teach your little ones the importance of being safe in the sun that will stay with them for life.
Teach them the shadow rule
As a general rule, UV rays are the strongest from 10am to 4pm so try to limit your little one’s sun exposure during this time when possible. A great little tip we picked up a while ago that really helps teach your children when the sun’s UV rays are at their most harmful is the shadow rule.
Children love playing with their shadows and you can use this to your advantage. Teach them the rule; Short Shadow? Seek Shade. When their shadow is shorter than their height, this means the sun is high is the sky and more likely to cause some damage to delicate skin.
Explain to them why this is important, and soon you might not even have to tell them to get in the shade, they will do it instinctively.
Dress up time
Is your child one of those that like picking what they wear everyday and end up looking like they’ve run through a fancy dress box backwards. Well you could use this to your advantage. Layout all the sun protective gear you have; fun hats, bright and colourful sunglasses, lightweight loose clothing etc and let them pick their favourites. Letting your children feel like they have chosen to wear these items and picked them out themselves will help encourage them to wear them.
Head, shoulders knees and toes
We all know the classic nursery rhyme and have sung it loads of times. But, it’s a great little song to use when applying sun cream too. Warm up those vocal cords because it’s time for a little sing-a-long. When it comes to applying sun cream on your little one, start singing the song and encourage them to sing with you so they can learn too.
The 5 S’s of Sun Safety
Teaching your children the 5 s’s of sun safety is a great way to teach them the 5 most important, but simple, steps that will help protect them from the sun.
SLIP on loose fitting clothing that covers shoulders
SLOP on sun cream (minimum SPF 30)
SLAP on a wide brimmed hat that will protect neck and ears
SLIDE on sunglasses to protect eyes
SHADE from the sun as much as possible
Make it fun and interactive
We know every child enjoys learning more when it is fun, interactive and creative. So we put our own creative skills to the test and made a fun at home activity pack to help teach your little ones about the importance of sun safety. From fun colouring, sorting games and educational activities, we have helped make teaching your little one how they can protect themselves from the sun fun. Take a look here.
Follow the leader
There is no greater role model to your children than you, their parent. By setting a good example and practicing good sun safety, your little ones will pick this up and end up following the leader. Sun protection is important for every member of the family, so team up with your children to stay protected when venturing out in the sun. Get ready with them in the mornings before you head out and show them how you get ready for fun in the sun so they can easily follow in your footsteps.
We want you to make the most of the glorious weather and have family fun outside as much as possible. With these essential sun safety products and fun activities you can do with your family, you will be ready for safe fun in the sun in no time! Teaching your children these important facts and steps early on, will encourage them to have healthy attitudes and habits towards sun safety for the rest of their lives.