Stay in the shade between 11 and 3

Make sure you never burn

Always cover up

Remember to take extra care with children

Then use factor 15+ sunscreen

Stay in the shade

Staying indoors or in the shade during the hottest part of the day - from 11am to 3pm. This is important not only when you are on holiday or abroad. The sun can cause damage even through cloud and water, and can be particularly damaging in this country in May and June. Sand, water, concrete, snow, and light coloured buildings reflect the sun’s rays back at you - you may think you’re in the shade and don’t need sun protection - but you probably do! And remember - beach shelters may not provide adequate UV protection.

Cover up

Covering up is the best and cheapest form of sun protection. Lightweight cotton clothing is excellent. Tightly woven fabrics help stop the sun’s harmful UV rays from penetrating to the skin.Polo and T shirts are best, rather than vests and tops with straps, which don’t protect the vulnerable shoulders and neck. Be aware that the protective quality of clothing is reduced with washing and wearing. Wet clothes on the beach or at the pool may offer less protection.

Wear a hat

The first line of defence against the sun is to find shade and wear protective clothing, including a hat. Hats with a 6cm brim are best for children or 10cm for teenagers and adults.  Baseball caps expose the ears and neck. A better alternative is a French legionnaire style hat that covers the vulnerable neck area.

Use sunscreen

Use at least factor 15+. However, users of sunscreenwill only get its benefits if they know how to use it properly. It should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going in the sun, and slapped on generously. It needs to be replaced at least every 2 hours, and more frequently if the child has been swimming, or has been sweating. And should a child be out in the sun for 2 hours anyway? Sunscreen is not an armour that allows parents or carers to forget about the sun. Sunscreen should NEVER be used to let a child stay out in the sun longer than they would without it. Make sure the sunscreen is ‘broad spectrum’, water resistant and of at least factor 15+. The good news is that cheap sunscreen gives just as much protection as the most expensive on the market - so there’s no excuse for being mean with it or keeping it beyond its expiry date.

Wear sunglasses

All sunglasses should bear the CE mark and should preferably conform to BS EN 1836. ‘Fashion’ and ‘toy’ sunglasses may not offer this level of protection. Advise a careful check before buying.

Don’t forget

It takes all of these things to protect children, not just one. A sunburnt child is a child with damaged skin.

Why the warning?

Sun protection during early childhood and teenage years reduces the risk of sun damaged skin and skin cancer in later life.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Experts say one severe sunburn in a child’s first 15 years can double the risk of skin cancer.

Doctors think about 4 out of 5 cases could be prevented if people took simple steps to reduce their exposure to the sun.

Are You Sunsmart - Leafltet for parents and carers

Are You Sunsmart - Leaflet for health professionals


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