Sun Safety Tips for Toddlers

Start protecting your child’s skin early to ensure a healthy future.

Toddlers love to run and play in the sun, and protecting their delicate skin from ultraviolet light can help prevent both short- and long-term damage. From sunscreen products to protective clothing to stroller covers, these simple tips can help keep toddlers safe in the sun during family summer fun.

Sunscreen Savvy
When it comes to little ones, all sunscreens are not created equal. For example, clear or gel-like alcohol-based products may burn your toddler’s skin.

Try a lotion or creamy product with an SPF between 15 and 30, and test a small area on your child’s arm first to see if she’s sensitive to a particular sunscreen.

If there are no adverse reactions, apply a generous amount of sunscreen 30 minutes to an hour before exposure to the sun. That allows the sunscreen’s protection to become most effective.

If your toddler will be in and out of water, apply a waterproof sunscreen product every couple of hours to maximize protection.

Dress for (Sun-Safety) Success
Clothing can provide an excellent barrier to screen out the sun’s rays. While short-sleeve tops and shorts help keep kids cool in warm weather, the best outfits comfortably cover as much of the skin as possible any time kids are outdoors.

  • Dress your toddler in long-sleeve tops and pants made of tightly woven but loose-fitting fabrics. Hold the items up to the light — if you can’t see through them, they’re what you want.
  • Look for children’s clothes that are lightweight and specifically made for sun protection. In a pinch, a long, white adult T-shirt also works well.
  • Top off your child’s sun-safety attire with a wide-brimmed hat.

And Don’t Forget:
When you’re out and about this summer, remember these helpful tips, too.

  • Apply lip balm with an SPF of 15 or more to your toddler’s tender mouth. Use opaque zinc oxide sunblock on exposed areas such as the nose, cheeks and ears.
  • If you can, avoid sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are most intense. Keep in mind that, even on cloudy days, the sun can be just as strong. Use these same precautions on those days as well.
  • On the beach, keep your child in the shade with a large umbrella that helps prevent the sun’s rays from reflecting off the white sand.
  • When you’re out for a walk, make sure the stroller offers plenty of shade with a hood or some sort of awning or canopy.
  • Try to get your toddler to wear sunglasses that are labeled “100 percent UV filtering.”

By starting even when your child is a toddler, he or she will already start to get the skin care and protection needed to keep a youthful look in the future. Who knows, maybe in 20 years or so your kids will be thanking you for keeping them looking great!


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