55%-72% of kids get sunburned each year. While a little sunburn or tanning might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it can increase your children’s risk of skin cancer later in life.

Luckily, there are many different ways to help protect your child’s skin against harmful UV rays. And it all starts with a little sun safety knowledge.

Here are some sun safety tips to help you keep your little ones protected as they enjoy their time in the sun.

Use Sunscreen

Everyone can benefit from sunscreen, no matter what their skin tone is.

When choosing a sunscreen for your child, it’s best to look for one with an SPF of at least 30 (and selecting one above 30 is good too!). It’s also important to check that the sunscreen is broad-spectrum, meaning it will protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays.

If children are going to be sweating or in water, look for a sunscreen that’s listed as being sweat- and water-resistant, too. There are lots of different brands out there to choose from, so do your own research to find out which ones you like best. Mineral sunscreens offer some of the best protection, and they’re also better for the environment.

Be sure to reapply the sunscreen every few hours, especially if children are playing in water where it will come off faster.

Cover Up with Protective Clothing

Another effective way to keep children safe in the sun is to dress them in protective clothing. This includes things like a long-sleeved breathable shirt, lightweight pants, or a baby boy sun hat.

If children will be swimming or playing in the water, long-sleeved water shirts are a perfect choice, as they dry quickly and won’t cause chafing. For added protection, look to see if the clothes have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) to protect against the sun’s rays.

Hats are good for all ages in the sun, but especially babies and toddlers. Young children’s skin is most sensitive to the sun, and it’s important to keep as much of it as possible off of their faces. A wide-brimmed hat (with a strap for keeping it on, if needed) is perfect for protecting their nose, face, ears, and neck.

Stay Out of the Sun When It’s Strongest

When the sun is at its strongest, you and your little ones are more likely to get sunburned or experience skin damage from the more intense rays.

To prevent this, try to keep children out of the sun in the middle of the day when the rays are strongest, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is a great time to play inside, using the morning and late afternoon/evening as ideal outside times.

Of course, this is a big chunk of the day, and staying completely out of the sun for this time period sometimes just isn’t an option. So if children will be exposed to the sun in the middle of the day, use extra precautions and try to seek shade when possible.

Umbrellas and pop-up tents help create a little shelter from the sun, as are trees that provide nice shade.

Also, remember that just because it’s cloudy out doesn’t mean you can’t still get sunburned. If you and your kids are planning on being outside most of the day when it’s overcast outside, it’s still necessary to apply sunscreen before heading out.

Wear Sunglasses

As an adult, you likely wear sunglasses when doing things like driving your car or going on a mid-day walk with your dog. That bright, harsh light may irritate your eyes and negatively impact your vision.

But it can be trickier to remember that children benefit from sunglasses as well. Just like their skin, their eyes are sensitive to sunlight and need to be protected from harmful UV rays.

To make kids more likely to keep their sunglasses on, let them choose which pair they’d like to wear. Whether the frames are bright pink or have animals all over them, they’ll still help keep the sun from causing damage.

Just make sure to choose sunglasses for both you and your children that offer 100% UV protection.

Stay Informed as a Caregiver

Sunscreen safety and protective clothing are great for keeping your children safe in the sun, but there are other ways to protect them as well. By staying as informed and knowledgeable as possible, you’ll be able to plan for better sun protection.

Summer Means Stronger UV Rays

You may already know that summer leads to stronger sun, but don’t forget that the summer season is different depending on where you are in the world. If you and your children are traveling to another country, stay up to date on what the weather will be like, including the sun’s intensity.

Sunburns Can Happen in Winter Too

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you and your children can’t still get sunburned. If your kids will be outside in the winter and the sun is out, it’s time to lather up with sunscreen.

Plus, the sun reflects off of snow and bodies of water, making it even easier to get a burn. It’s super important to put on sunscreen if your family will be out skiing or playing in the snow so that everyone stays protected.

Certain Places Require Extra Precautions

If you’re at a higher altitude or closer to the equator, the sun can be stronger and more damaging. Know what type of locations may lead to an easier sunburn so you can prepare with lots of sunscreen and sun protection.

Be a Good Role Model

If your kids see you taking care of yourself in the sun, they’ll learn to protect themselves from the sun too. Practice all of these sun tips yourself so your children will understand how important it is.

Sun Safety Tips to Keep Your Children Protected

These simple sun safety tips will help you keep your child protected in the sun, no matter the season. With a little extra planning (and lots of sunscreen!), you and your kids will be all set to enjoy the outdoors.

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