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Young girl with brimmed hat sitting outside with her parents.

It's great to spend time outdoors in the summer, but remember to protect against the sun's rays! Everyone is at risk for sunburn. Children especially need to be protected, since most sun damage occurs in childhood. Like other burns, sunburn will leave the skin red, warm, and painful. In severe cases, it may cause blistering, fever, chills, headache, and a general feeling of illness. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to keep children safe in the sun.

Sun Safety for Babies Under 6 Months

  • Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella, or stroller canopy. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs and use brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
  • When adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.
  • If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.


Sun Safety for Kids

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful exposure is covering up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 s.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
  • Try to find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears, and back of the neck. Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection are also a good idea.
  • Apply sunscreen with and SPF 15 or greater to areas of your child's skin that aren't covered by clothing. Before applying widely, test the sunscreen on your child's back to make sure there is no allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.
  • Be sure to apply enough sunscreen – for reference, about one ounce is enough for a young adult.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain, or fever, contact your pediatrician.


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