Children younger than age 6 years should avoid direct sun
exposure because their sensitive skin burns easily. It is essential for babies
younger than 6 months to stay out of the sun because they should not wear
sunscreen, except possibly in small amounts in areas, such as the face and back of the
If you allow your child older than 6 months in the sun, do
the following things to help prevent sunburn:
Keep children out of the strong midday sun
(approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Have children wear hats with
wide brims that shade the neck, ears, face, and scalp.
children wear sunglasses with UV protection.
Dress children in
loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers arms and legs.
Apply sunscreen that
sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to protect
babies' and children's very sensitive skin. Sunscreens that say
"broad-spectrum" can protect the skin from ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays. Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the
sun. Reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours or after sweating or swimming.
Wearing a T-shirt while swimming will not protect your child from sunburn
unless sunscreen has also been applied to the skin under the T-shirt.
In addition to preventing sunburn, sun protection helps
prevent other health problems, such as skin damage and
skin cancer. Most people accumulate the majority of
their lifetime sun damage by 18 years of age.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.