Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Sunburn Prevention in Young Children

Children younger than age 6 years should avoid direct sun exposure because their sensitive skin burns easily. It is essential for babies younger than 6 months to stay out of the sun because they should not wear sunscreen, except possibly in small amounts in areas, such as the face and back of the hands.

If you allow your child older than 6 months in the sun, do the following things to help prevent sunburn:

  • Keep children out of the strong midday sun (approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Have children wear hats with wide brims that shade the neck, ears, face, and scalp.
  • Have children wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Dress children in loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Apply sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to protect babies' and children's very sensitive skin. Sunscreens that say "broad-spectrum" can protect the skin from ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays. Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the sun. Reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours or after sweating or swimming. Wearing a T-shirt while swimming will not protect your child from sunburn unless sunscreen has also been applied to the skin under the T-shirt.

In addition to preventing sunburn, sun protection helps prevent other health problems, such as skin damage and skin cancer. Most people accumulate the majority of their lifetime sun damage by 18 years of age.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as of August 28, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 28, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool