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Now that the warmer weather is finally settling in and hopefully here to stay for a little while, families are spending more time outside. But spending time outside means being sun safe, especially for kids.  Not that adults shouldn’t worry too, but we’ll cover that in another post. Today we’re sharing sun safety tips for kids so you can start establishing sun safe habits early on in life.

Planning to spend a lot of time outdoors over the summer? Be sure to check out our summer sun safety tips.

Sun Safety Tips for Kids

* Always Apply Sun Screen – Find a child friendly sunscreen and use it. Reapply as often and use as much as the directions say to use. In most cases you’ll need to apply an entire ounce of sunscreen every couple of hours if playing outside for a long time. Applying just once and then letting the child play all day isn’t enough.

Remember too that if they’re playing in the water, that you may need to reapply sunscreen more often. Also, look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s good for all skin types.

Concerned about the ingredients in your sunscreen? Check the labels.

Here are a few other things to consider when it comes to sunscreen:

1. Broad-Spectrum

Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect your skin from the sun’s two main types of ultraviolet rays – UVA (the dominant tanning ray) and UVB (known to cause burning). Neither one is safe though, as they both contribute to aging in your skin and eyes, as well as skin cancers.

So if you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you will be protecting your skin from burning, skin cancer, wrinkling, and other aging of the skin.

2. Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

The SPF refers to the level of blockage against UVB (it does not include UVA) rays that the sunscreen provides. So the higher the SPF is, the longer you can stay in the sun before you burn. For example, a SPF 30 means you can stay in the sun longer before you burn than if you are using a sunscreen with SPF 15. However, this does NOT mean that you can stay in the sun twice as long. Instead, it means that the SPF 30 would block out approximately 97% of the UVB rays, and a SPF 15 would block out approximately 94% of UVB rays.

If you are highly sensitive to the sun, then you will want to use sunscreen with higher SPF. However, those sunscreens with SPF 100, for example, will not block 100% of the UVB rays. No sunscreen does that. Many physicians recommend their patients use products with SPF ratings of 30-45, if they will be spending extended time outdoors. Products with SPF 15 can be effective for incidental sun exposure, and can be found in many face moisturizers.

3. Water Resistance

If you will be sweating outside or swimming, you want something that stays on your skin better, and that is less likely to drip in your eyes.

Once you buy your sunscreen, there are a couple things that you need to know about its application:

1. Slather It On

Most people do not put enough sunscreen on. The SPF level you get from your sunscreen will depend on how thick you put on your sunscreen. The less sunscreen you put on, the less protection your skin is actually getting.

A good guideline for adults is to use an ounce to cover the whole body.

2. Put it on before you go outdoors

It takes time for the sunscreen to absorb into the skin and begin working properly.

3. Reapply often

No matter what level of SPF you are using, you should always reapply your sunscreen every 90 minutes to two hours, or sooner if you have been sweating or swimming.

* Cover a Lot of Skin – In addition to sunscreen, ensure that you cover as much of your child’s skin as possible with sunscreen-quality clothing most of the day after swimming, to avoid exposing more skin to the sun all day long.

* Encourage Them to Wear Hats – Give your kids hats to wear outside during the summer. It will give them some shade as well as protect their scalp from being burned. Most kids like hats so it shouldn’t be a problem if you get them one that represents their favorite team or character.

* Take a Break between 10 am and 2 pm – Those are the hours where the sun is hottest and most likely to cause damage. It’s also a great time for lunch and a nap. This is good advice for the parents, too.

* Cool Down Their Showers and Baths – Instead of giving them hot baths after a long day in the sunshine, give them cooler baths to avoid more skin damage. Plus it will feel great and help them feel refreshed.

* Drink Lots of Water – Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your child’s skin. Give them plenty of hydrating water to drink all throughout the day. Water requirements depend on the age and weight of the child.

* Eat Lots of Fruit – Fruit is hydrating and a perfect snack to eat a lot of during the hot days of summer. Give them watermelon, and other types of melons for the very best results.

Kids don’t always make the best choices or aren’t always capable of making the best choices when it comes to sun safety. But by giving them a healthy start and by setting a good example for them, you’ll be setting them up for good sun safety habits for the rest of their lives.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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Carlee @cookingwithcarlee
9 years ago

Great tips! My little guy is almost two… it was a lot easier to keep him covered and in the shade last year!!

Blythe Alpern
8 years ago

It isn’t always easy to put sunscreen on squiggly bodies, but it is a must. Better to be protected than sunburned.

8 years ago

My girls and I both wear long sleeve swim suits. We honestly just swim so much it is easier to cover!

jill conyers
8 years ago

Sun safety is not something to be taken lightly. I have 2 trips a year to the dermatologist to prove it. My kids are both really good about sun safety.

Amanda Love
8 years ago

In the summer I make sure that my own little one has a hat on as well and sunscreen. Unlike what most people think, African-American’s do burn too.

Reesa Lewandowski
8 years ago

I feel like the sun is so much stronger than it was when we were kids. It’s scary. These are great tips. I have kids who love swimming so I do a lot of these.

Rachel Langer
8 years ago

I am not a perfect mom but one thing I am diligent with is sunscreen! We usually use between 50 and 75 SPF. We vacation in FL every year and never burn.

Eva / Kid Minds
8 years ago

I read once that it takes only one bad sunburn to double child’s life chances of developing melanoma How scary! Thanks for the tips. We can all use more watermelon by the poolside.

HilLesha O\'Nan
8 years ago

These are wonderful tips for children and adults alike! The sun can certainly be brutal this time of year.