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10 Tips for Keeping Your Little One Safe in the Sun

If you're planning a sun filled holiday, or you're simply just hoping that the Irish sun will show it's face at some point this summer, you need to be sun safe. Children who get sunburned in childhood or adolescence are at an increased risk of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) in later life. Take precautions now to protect your children in the future.

Katherine Eve, Skin Care Specialist, says "Follow the Irish Cancer Society's 'SunSmart Code' - seek shade, slip on clothes, slap on a hat, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen and know the UV index. Even in Ireland, we should get into the habit of protecting our children's skin from April to September."

Here are 10 of our top sun safety tips:

  1. Babies up to 6 months ideally should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Their skin is much too delicate. Cover their arms and legs with clothing while out and about. Use mesh screens on car windows.
  2. Only bring young children outside for walks before 10 am and after 4 pm when the sun is not as intense. Ensure they wear wide-brimmed hats when outdoors, and consider investing in a parasol or a special cover for the buggy. Some newer designs, such as the Uppababy Vista, will already have a special UV protection cover installed in the hood of the pram.
  3. Use a broad-spectrum suncream that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can cause premature ageing and UVB rays can burn the skin. Overexposure to either can damage the skin.
  4. Experts recommend an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 for children, but the higher the SPF, the better. Most sun protection for children has SPF 50. A cream formulation is generally better than milks or lotions.
  5. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. It’s worth doing a patch test to check if your child is allergic to a particular cream.
  6. Re-apply every 2 hours.
  7. When using a spray suncream, do not spray directly onto the child’s face, use your hands to apply.
  8. Take care in cloudy weather – up to 90% of UV rays can pass through light cloud. Be familiar with the UV index, which measures the risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. This can be checked on most weather apps.
  9. If your children are in someone else’s, make sure you send sun cream with them and instructions to their carer to re-apply at regular intervals.
  10. Remember kids learn from example so apply sun cream to your own skin too.

Protect the delicate skin of your precious little ones now and instil lifelong sun safety skills that they will carry on with them.


About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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