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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Babies and Children
- Keeping Kids Safe - Sun Safety

The earth’s ozone layer acts as our planet’s sunscreen. In the past few years, the ozone layer has become thinner. This means more of the sun’s Ultra Violet rays reach the earth’s surface. UV rays are responsible for burning, aging, wrinkling the skin, and are the main cause of skin cancer. Children are especially at risk.

  • Keep babies out of direct sunlight. Dress babies in protective clothing. Keep babies under one year of age out of direct sunlight. Keep the baby under a tree, an umbrella or a stroller canopy. A baby's skin is not fully developed and is thinner than an adult's. Their skin is more sensitive to the effects of the sun. This will also prevent dehydration and sunstroke. After all, babies can't move themselves, and can't tell you when they are hot.

  • Keep children out of the sun during the peak hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the sun's rays are their strongest.

  • Don't be fooled by cloud cover. 80% of the sun's rays can still penetrate light clouds, mist and fog.

  • Watch out for reflective light from sand, snow, water and concrete.

  • Plan for shade in your children's play area. Trees and shade structures are a great way to do this.

  • Reinforce basic sun safety everywhere they go. Send them to school with a hat, protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen.



Sunscreens

  • Do not use sunscreen on babies under six months old.

  • Older infants can use an approved sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more on any exposed skin. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before exposure. Reapply frequently and liberally. Do not rub lotion into skin. Let it be absorbed!

  • Choose a waterproof or water-resistant product if your child is playing in water.

  • Be careful of vulnerable areas; cover tip of nose, ears, back of neck and tops of feet. Wear a lip balm of SPF 15 or more.

Remember that Sunscreens are not adequate protection on their own. They should be used with other forms of natural protection like clothing, hats and shade.


Resources

Sources: Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian

Dermatology Association, Canadian Pediatric Association

Environment Canada, Health & Welfare Canada




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