Expert Health Articles

Sun Protection Tips for Children

April Lieb, PA-C

Physician Assistant
Caughman Health Center

With summer quickly approaching, it’s important to remember the value of using sunscreen, especially on our children. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.

A few simple steps, as directed from, will help protect your family from sunburns – they are as follows:


Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight. Do this by placing the child under a shade tree or by using an umbrella or covered stroller.


Dress in cool, comfortable, lightweight long sleeves and pants to keep arms and legs covered.

Wear a hat with a brim all the way around that will protect the face, ears and back of the neck.


Limit time outside between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

Sunscreen guidance

Use sunscreen. Pick something that is broad-spectrum, which means it covers both UVB and UVA rays, with an SPF of at least 15 to 30. Look for something that is PABA-free.

For sensitive areas such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and shoulders, using a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium can be helpful. Sunscreen should be applied to all sun-exposed areas and should be placed on exposed areas 15-30 minutes before going outside. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming.

If your child has sensitive skin, these sunscreens work well: Neutrogena Sensitive Skin, SPF 30;

Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby, SPF 60; Aveeno Natural Protection Mineral Block, SPF 30; Blue Lizard for Sensitive Skin, SPF 30; California Shield Sunscreen, SPF 40; Solbar Shield Sunscreen, SPF 40; Vanicream Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin, SPF 60.

If a sunburn were to occur, it is important to help relieve the discomfort from a mild sunburn. This can be done by giving your child extra fluids, such as water or Gatorade, to help replenish the lost fluids, by applying cool water to the sunburn or by using pain relief medication, such as Tylenol. It is essential to remain out of the sun until the sunburn has healed. If your child is younger than one and gets a sunburn or if your child gets a sunburn and experiences blistering, pain or fever, you should call your child’s medical provider.

For more information regarding your child and sun protection, please visit