Sun burn is particularly dangerous for children. Therefore it’s important to protect your little ones from those UV rays. Below are a few tips on the best ways to do this.

In general, children shouldn’t be roaming about in the midday heat when the temperature and ray’s intensity are at their highest. This is between 12 and 15pm. During this time you should find a cool place in the shade for you and your child. However sun screen still needs to be worn in the shade, as the strength of UV rays shouldn’t be underestimated. UV rays reflect off many surfaces and so are still able to reach your children when they are playing in the shade. An example of this when sitting under a parasol at the beach. Have you ever realised that you tan just as much as when you lie out in the sun? That’s because those harmful UV rays reflect indirectly off the waves in the water and are therefore able to reach you whilst sitting under the parasol. With this is mind, it’s vital that you and your child apply sunscreen, even if you’re not sitting directly out in the sun.

Which form of sun protection is best for my child?

In the case of babies and small children, waterproof sun protection products are the best option. The product should contain physical light protection filters and be free from any colorings , preservatives or perfumes. These sun protection products contain mineral pigments which form a white protective layer on the skin. This protective layer reflects the sun rays like a mirror.

Which sun protection factor should I be using?

If it’s at least 25 degrees in the height of summer then you need to be using factor 50 as a minimum, though the higher the better. Ideally, sun cream should be applied before leaving the house. Applying the lotion 30 minutes to an hour before going out into the sun is ideal, as that way the lotion has enough time to fully soak into the skin. Sun screen also needs to be applied more than once a day- every two to three hours is best, especially when your child has been playing in or around water, as the cream is likely to get washed off or be wiped off by a towel. Therefore sunscreen needs to be reapplied frequently.

Sprays are also a suitable for of sun protection for children with normal skin. The lotion should first be sprayed into your hands and then rubbed into their skin to avoid the risk of the spray going into their eyes.

Remember to apply sun screen to all parts of the body, including the lips and the ears which are often forgotten about. It’s very important to apply sunscreen to your child’s back, everything from the back of their neck to the soles of their feet must be covered with sunscreen, as when playing the sun usually comes from behind.

If your child has skin problems, for example eczema, it’s best to consult your doctor on what sun protection would be most suitable for them.

How do I spot a sun burn and what should I do if I do?

A sun burn is first noticeable after a few hours, usually only when you are back at home. The skin will have reddened and it will hurt when it’s touched. It will feel hot, somewhat tight and is sometimes also swollen. As sun burn is a type of burn, cooling is the first action you need to take. Here we are talking in regards to a first degree burn, but if blisters have already formed on the skin it is a second degree burn.

If this is the case then on no account should you pop the blisters, but take your child immediately to the doctor. Headaches and nausea often come with these types of burns, so the doctor will be able to give your child the right treatment for both the sunburn and its side effects.

It should never get to the point where your child gets sunburnt. It should be made aware to everyone that sunburn during childhood can increase the risk of getting skin cancer later on in life.

What should my child wear on the beach?

In no way should beach clothing be used as a replacement for sun cream, but it is a good addition. At any rate, the clothing should be made out of cotton or silk, as these materials let very few sun rays through. Special shirts with special UV-ray protection are also available and are often in bright colours and have fun motifs on them, so your little one will be excited about wearing them. Protecting the head and scalp also needs to be remembered, in fact it’s the most important thing to protect. A cap with a wide rim and perhaps protection for the neck is perfect for this. All you need now is a cool pair of sunglasses to ensure head to toe protection for your child.

The same dress code applies when taking your baby to the beach. In this case it makes sense to take a beach shelter with you, as they are easily set up and your little one then has enough shade and freedom of movement to be able to spend the whole day out of direct contact with UV rays.

By taking these precautions and using the right protection, you are sure to have a great family day out in the sun this summer.