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How to Build a Sun Protection Plan for Children

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Everyone needs a little sunshine in their lives, but the not-so-great thing about too much fun in the sun is the damage! Did you know multiple sunburns earlier in life create an increased risk of developing skin cancer as an adult? You can help reduce your child’s risk of sun damage today by incorporating the following tips in their sun protection plan.

5 tips for staying safe in the sun

1. One of the most important things to incorporate in your child’s daily routine is sunscreen! This greatly reduces the possibility of sun damage to the skin and helps lower the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Starting at 6 months old, children are able to use SPF 15 and above, however a higher SPF is recommended for more protection. Make sure the sunscreen also protects against UVA and UVB rays.

2. Apply sunscreen to your child no less than 30 minutes before going outside. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen if their outing is more than 2 hours because reapplying is key throughout the day for maximum coverage, which should be done every 2-3 hours. This is an important step if sun exposure is longer than 2 hours or if they’re participating in activities involving water or sweating.

3. When getting your child dressed for the day, keep in mind that accessories are more than just a fashion statement – select items can also offer protection from the sun! A wide brim hat and a pair of sunglasses are useful in providing shade and block harsh rays that can cause sun damage to the face and eyes.

4. Sunscreen is not advised for babies under 6 months old. Instead, infants can be best protected by being dressed with all body parts covered, avoiding sun exposure during the middle of the day, and staying in the shade as much as possible. 

5. Keep your child’s time in the sun to a minimum. Remember, the sun’s rays are harshest during the hours of 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Planning their outdoor activities around this time frame will help significantly lower their risk of sun damage. Additionally, protective clothing against the sun is encouraged.

What to do if sunburn happens to your child

Sunburn is irritation or damage to the skin caused by too much sun exposure and usually develops within a few hours. Symptoms typically include pain, redness, itchiness, swelling, and inflamed skin that is hot to the touch. After several days the skin should start to repair itself by peeling. In the meantime, pain can be alleviated with cool baths, a cold compress, drinking plenty of liquids, over-the-counter pain reducers, moisturizing creams or pure aloe vera, and sun protective clothing.

When to see a pediatrician:

  • A large area of the skin bubbles up with blisters
  • Your child experiences severe swelling
  • Blisters begin to open, increasing the chances of infection
  • The sunburn doesn’t seem to be getting better
  • The sunburn is causing symptoms of chills, nausea, dizziness, headache, or high fever

In these extreme cases, your child is advised to seek medical attention immediately. Are you unsure of the severity? Visit with our pediatricians in Plano, Tx to get a second opinion on your child’s sunburn and quickly discover the best methods of treatment.

Does your child need a pediatrician in Plano, Tx?

Schedule with one of our board certified pediatricians or certified nurse practitioner in Plano, Tx for skin conditions, well-child exams, immunizations, and more by texting (469) 382-3796.


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.