Sunscreen and You

June 3, 2009

As everyone knows protecting yourself from the sun is very important for everyone during the summer. It is especially important for children, specifically babies, because the outer layer of their skin is thinner and they haven’t developed their skin protection system yet, so their skin is more sensitive and can burn far more quickly than adults. Be sure that you discuss sunscreen and hats with your caregiver.

Health Canada recommends that if you are going to be out in the sun between 11 am and 4 pm, you should COVER UP, STAY IN THE SHADE , and USE SUNSCREEN whenever possible. Wear a hat, light but long clothing, and wear sunglasses to protect any rays that do get to you. Whenever possible, stay in the shade, sit under a tree, or use an umbrella to shade you. And always be sure to apply sunscreen.

Health Canada recommends that you use at least an SPF of 15 to protect yourself, but it seems that families opt for higher numbers. A recent informal poll on Twitter found that families usually use at least an SPF 50 on their children, and apply SPF 30 to themselves. “SPF represents the length of time that sunscreen-protected skin can be exposed to UVB rays before a minimal redness (erythema) appears, compared to the length of time it takes on unprotected skin. In other words, it indicates how much longer you can be exposed to the sun before getting a sunburn” – Health Canada Website (

If your child attends a day care or school, speak to them about having them apply sunscreen to your child during the day. Many schools require you to bring your own but they will apply if requested.

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