Use a high factor sunscreen
He recommends lotions with SPF 30 or 50 for very sunny days.
“Sunscreen should be reapplied every four hours, or more often if children have been swimming, sweating or playing in water. Be sure not to forget certain parts, such as the ears, back of neck, hands and feet!”
Early years providers may want to request that parents supply their own preferred sun-cream. Where this is the case they must ensure that it is a suitable SPF, clearly labelled and in-date. It is fine to store it in a child’s day-bag, to go home each day, or if it is to be kept on the premises, it can be stored in the child’s basket/drawer as appropriate.
If the setting decides to supply sun-cream, parents should be informed of the brand, SPF and how and when it will be applied. In both circumstances, providers should obtain written permission to apply the sun-cream as required.
Most sun-creams have a shelf-life of up to three years, but NHS Choices recommends that it is replaced each year. If parents supply their own, give them plenty of notice.
There is no need to record each application of sun-cream, unless it is a medicated product, sometimes used for children with a skin condition such as eczema, in which case it must be recorded as with any other medication.
Children should be shown how to apply sun-cream correctly and older children should certainly be encouraged to ‘help’ apply it to their own bodies, with practitioners going over the exposed areas of skin to make sure that no areas have been missed.
Practitioners should also be sun-safe, applying sun-cream, wearing sun-hats or covering up too. It may be tempting to ‘catch a few rays’ on a sunny day, but remember that as ‘role-models’ to young children we should always lead by example.
Be careful with fair skin
You may advise their parents to dress them in protective clothing that covers their arms and legs, while also using a high SPF sunscreen.
To Vitamin D or not to Vitamin D?
- Keep children out of the sun between 11am-3pm
- Babies under six months should never be left in direct sunlight
- Let children play in the shade instead
- If your setting has little shade, put up tents, gazebos or awnings to allow for play in the shade
- Children should wear brimmed hats and loose long-sleeved clothing
- If splashing or paddling, children should wear longer-sleeved UV-protective swimwear. Or oversized T-shirts also provide good coverage
- Use a high factor sunscreen (30 plus or 50 plus) applied every four hours — remember to put cream on necks, ears, feet, etc
- You can ask parents to provide sunscreen, labelled with their child's name and kept in their day bag or drawer
- You don't have to record the application of sunscreen unless it is a specially medicated suncream in which case you record as normal
- Children need Vitamin D which you get from the sun but sun protection takes priority so you still need to apply suncream
- Don't forget to lead by example and wear a hat and suncream yourself