Why is it especially important to protect children from the sun

Sun protection in children.Because the sun received during childhood and adolescence is associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. I’m going to give you a couple of chilling facts:

– A single blistering sunburn on a child’s skin more than doubles the chances of developing melanoma in the future.
– Children who have suffered more than three burns are ten times more likely to develop melanoma in the future.

Although we know the theory supposedly and that the importance of photoprotection is stressed every year, there are things that we continue to do wrong, especially in children, and it is time to give them a review…


1. A newborn should not be given sunscreen

Although some packages indicate “from zero months”, the general recommendation is not to apply sunscreen to children under six months . The barrier function of the skin is immature and sunscreens and other components could be absorbed.

2. In children under 3 years old, physical filters

The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) recommends that only physical filters be used in children under 3 years of age to minimize the risk of allergies . Nor should those containing perfumes be used. It is especially interesting to use physical filters in those babies who suffer from dermatitis. In the following link I explain the difference between physical and chemical filters and what are some examples on the market.

Despite this, the most widely used sunscreens are those that contain a mixture between physical and chemical filters and their use is safe.

3. Wet T-shirts: If they have no protection, as uncomfortable as unnecessary.

Who has not seen a child on the seashore, with the shirt on and half stuck to the body by the water and the sand?

There is a classification system on the protection that clothing offers us depending on the material that makes it up. It is measured in UPF units. According to this classification, the garments that offer the most protection are sturdy garments such as Levis 501 jeans with 100 UPF and those that least, delicate and transparent garments such as lycra stockings, with a 2 UPF.

If you are thinking of leaving your child on the beach with the shirt on to protect him, it should be known that a normal cotton shirt has an index of 12 UPF, that is, it protects less than a sun cream with a low factor of 15 SPF. If the shirt gets wet, the protection drops to 8 UPF, so you can assess its effectiveness yourself.

The solution is clothing with a sun protection factor. There are garments that incorporate particles between their fibers that prevent the transmission of UV rays. This type of clothing offers additional sun protection to that of the fabric itself. In the labeling we must look for the initials UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor) which is a standardized and normalized protection index worldwide followed by the number that indicates the protection factor. In the classic beach shirts, the ideal is for it to be UPF 50+. Must meet EN 13758-2 standard.


4. Up to 3 years, no sun.

Children under the age of three should not be exposed to direct sunlight and this means that they should not step on the beach in the so-called “central hours of the day”. The best time to go down to the beach with children is first thing in the morning, before 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. or late in the afternoon, around 6:00 p.m. when the sun has gone down.

Far from what you may believe, this is great news! When you get used to these hours you discover its great advantages: at that time the beaches are half empty and you don’t have to kill yourself to find half a square meter where to put your towel. It is liberating to look up and distinguish your child on the shore without putting on a reflective vest to distinguish him from the crowd.

If you go down to the beach at 7:00 p.m., think that you will never hear the man sitting on your right in nautical panties ruminating on French fries. You will not see gentlemen in nautical panties eating chips in a radius less than 5 meters. For me the argument is enough.


5. Igloo umbrellas to cook babies? No thanks

In recent years, “baby tents” flourish like mushrooms on the beaches. It could be considered as a better option than an umbrella, since they avoid the reflection of the sun in
the sand; but the truth is that in there, at one in the afternoon, the creature is cooked in its own juice. I insist: the right thing is to go down to the beach when you no longer need to use the wonderful tent

6. Photoprotection and vitamin D, that great controversy.

Despite the fact that every year from different media we try to put fear in our bodies, the reality is that there is no reason to worry. This is a controversial topic that I wrote a post about long ago in case anyone has an interest . The summary-summary is that, in reality, we use much less amounts of sunscreen than recommended to obtain the real protection indicated on the packaging. In addition, our children spend many hours without photoprotection in schools (this is another topic that would go a long way) and therefore they are not isolated from the sun as we are led to think.

7. Adult sunscreen should not be used on babies

It’s not advisable. Babies have the finest and most delicate skin and pediatric sunscreens are formulated avoiding in their composition the types of sunscreens that, despite being safe, may be more allergenic to them. The presence of perfumes or alcohol is also avoided in its composition.

Another characteristic of pediatric sunscreens is that they are formulated to be more resistant to water or sand, although despite this, it is still convenient to reapply them every two hours and every time they get out of the water.

** If you want to continue exploring sun protection, what the numbers 15, 30, 50+ mean, or curiosities such as the difference between water-resistant and water-proof, or why you should not use one-year sun protection for other! you can continue reading here .


* You can find all these tips on sun protection in children (and many more) in EL MOCO RADIACTIVO , a book that, by the way (how natural everything is getting me) I will be signing at the Book Fair on the following dates and places:

  • Sunday, May 28: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Book House. Caseta 320/321
    Sunday June 4 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Sphere of books. Caseta 174
    Saturday, June 10, 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Letras Library.


Leave a Comment