Sun protection for babies and children

Babies and children  are at particular risk of sunburn and skin damage because of their delicate skin. Exposure to UV radiation during the first 15 years of life greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Your  child’s sensitive skin is especially vulnerable to UV radiation. Cancer Council NSW recommends that children under the age of 12 months are not exposed to direct sunlight.

When outdoors you can protect your  child’s skin by:

  • Plan the day’s activities to reduce your children’s exposure to the sun, especially between 10am and 2pm (11am and 3pm in daylight saving time).
  • Cover as much of your children’s skin as possible with loose-fitting clothes made from tightly-woven fabrics.
  • Provide shade for prams and strollers.
  • Apply SPF30+ broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen on any exposed areas of skin.
  • Choose a wide-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat that protects your child’s face, neck and ears.

When you’re out and about:

  • Check your children often to ensure they are well protected. Adjust covers on prams and strollers to make sure babies remain shaded.
  • Encourage your children to play in the shade. Remember even in shade, scattered or reflected UV radiation can cause skin damage.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if wiped or washed off.

Extra care for babies

When outdoors, protect your baby’s skin with loose-fitting clothes made from tightly-woven fabrics and a hat that shades their face, neck and ears. Sunscreen may be applied to any small areas of your baby’s skin that cannot be protected by clothing, such as the face, ears and back of hands. If your baby’s skin reacts to the sunscreen, try another product or speak to your doctor.

Need more information?   Download the Protect Your Child’s Skin brochure.