Getting plenty of outdoor time and along with it, some vitamin D is super important for your little explorers, but exposure to sun can be damaging to their skin. Children’s skin is only one-fifth as thick as adult skin which means they are more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.
We must stress that the sun is not only dangerous during the summer holidays, we must also safeguard children from its harmful effects all the way from spring to autumn and even on overcast days.
Here’s what you can do to protect your children from the sun.
Find some shade around lunchtime
The sun’s harmful UV rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm and most harmful around midday. Take a lunchtime break from the sun and move indoors if you can or seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. Always keep babies and toddlers in the shade if you can. Remember, you don’t need blue skies for sun damage to happen; even on cloudy summer days, you should stay away from the sun between 11am and 3pm.
Apply SPF 50 sunscreen often
The British Skin Foundation recommends a minimum of SPF 50 and at least 4 stars for UVA protection for children. Apply sunscreen to all areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, noses, the tops of feet and backs of hands and use an SFP lip balm on their lips. Apply generously (about 5 teaspoons to cover the whole body) 15 to 20 minutes before going out. Take sunscreen with you and reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or towelling off even if you’re using waterproof or water-resistant products. Keep in mind, no sunscreen offers 100% protection from UV damage so it should only be used in combination with clothing and shade.
Cover up in UPF 50+ clothing
Sunscreen alone won’t be enough to protect little explorers from UV rays, but a combination of UV protective clothing, shade and sunscreen can help keep them safe from the sun. The UPF system measures sunburn protection for sun protective fabrics. The higher the rating, the better the protection. For example, a fabric with a UPF rating of 50 only allows 1/50th (98%) of the sun's UV radiation to pass through it.
|Protection Category||UPF Range||Approximate % UV Blocked|
|Good UV Protection||15 - 24||93.3% - 95.8%|
|Very Good UV Protection||25 - 39||96.0% - 97.4%|
|Excellent UV Protection||40 - 50+||97.5% - 98.0%|
At Muddy Puddles, all of our swimwear is made of UPF 50+ fabric, the highest UPF rating, which blocks out 98% percent of the sun's harmful rays, helping keep children safe in the sun. UV swimwear is more reliable than sunscreen (only covered areas are protected); you don’t have to worry about missing a spot or reapplying, so you can let your children splash away in the pool knowing they are safe.
With UV swimwear, the more areas you have covered, the more protection your little explorers have so look for high necks, long sleeves and long bottoms. Our UV swimwear is also super comfy and made from recycled fabric from plastic bottles, good for you and good for the planet.
Don't forget a hat and sunglasses
Hats and sunglasses can help cover up more of the sensitive areas and are essential for the summer. Choose sunglasses that are durable, comfort and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. You can find polarised versions that have even better protection by reducing reflections from surfaces like water, snow or glass. Velcro straps are great for smaller children.
The NHS recommends sunglasses with wrap-around lenses or wide arms with the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E. A wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears is the perfect summer accessory; easy to use and gives great protection for little explorers. Look for UV protective hats and ask your children to keep them on even in the water if they can.