According to the National Union of Dermatologists, “exposure to the sun in early childhood and adolescence irreversibly breaks down an individual’s solar capital, thereby increasing the risk of skin cancer”. Dermatologists warn of the increase in the number of these cancers (skin cancer can be linked to genetics but only in about 10%  of all cases).

NB : Babies and children under 3 years old should not be exposed to the sun. Their skin is immature and defenseless and unable to tolerate UV rays. A baby should be dressed in light, preferably anti-UV clothing, hat and sunglasses and should  always remain in the shade.

Do not wait for holidays or beach days to protect your child from the sun. Ideally, a SPF50 cream should be applied to the face 365 days a year but extra vigilance is necessary from the Spring time onwards.  “Urban tanning” is more dangerous because we are less conscious of the risk: café terraces, sunbathing on balconies etc. Sunburn can strike whilst you are out walking, at work, taking part in outdoor sports, gardening, etc …

Do not cover a pushchair with a cloth to protect babies from the sun as this reduces air circulation,  increases the temperature inside the pushchair and can lead to  heat stroke.

Avoid going out during the hottest times of the day (11am – 4pm). Apply sunscreen as indicated:   20 minutes before going out into the sun, again 20 minutes later and then every two hours. Purchase solar products in pharmacies and select a SPF50+ regardless of your child’s skin type (cancer does not respect skin color).

In addition to the sun protection factor, it is important to apply the correct quantity of any product. Poorly applied sunscreen significantly reduces the efficiency of the product.

Remember the areas which are frequently overlooked : ears, lips, eyelids, neck (back and front), hairline, back of knees, hands, and of course  the tops and soles of the feet.

Water, snow, grass, tar, light-coloured floors and glass surfaces also reflect UV rays.

UV intensity is increased by altitude, so be extra vigilant during winter sports holidays.

Beware of cloudy weather when 80% of UV rays pass through the cloud cover. The same advice applies for windy weather where the intensity of the sun remains the same but there is no sensation of sunburn.

At the beach, it is futile to try leaving any child under a parasol if he or she  is able to walk. We recommend the widespread use of anti-UV clothes at the beach.  Sand reflects UV rays. So ensure that your child is placed on a  beach towel.

In case of a light sunburn, apply a cream recommended by your pharmacist and stay out of the sun for several days. In case of severe sunburn (with blisters), you must consult a doctor as quickly as possible.

Be wary of your parasol :  if it is lightweight and not made from anti-UV fabric, the UV rays will pass straight through.

The best protection available is remaining in the shade (exposure to the sun must be limited) + wear appropriate clothing + wear suitable head gear + use sunscreen.

The best protection available is remaining in the shade (exposure to the sun must be limited) + wear appropriate clothing + wear suitable head gear + use sunscreen.

Bathing is not forbidden for children who suffer from eczema.  However their skin must be rinsed with clear water afterwards and the amount of time in the water limited.  High temperatures can cause eczema so check with your doctor and follow his advice.

In order to prevent so-called “swimmers ear “, it is important to dry ears thoroughly after leaving the water (water remaining   in the external auditory canal can lead to a proliferation of the bacteria responsible for this infection).

Do not allow young children to bathe in very cold water, as they chill much more quickly than adults.

Do not allow your children to dig holes in the sand at the beach.   All too frequently children end up buried in the sand which leaves no space for air and immediately blocks breathing.

Remember to apply more cream after bathing in the water. The so-called waterproof creams lose their properties after swimming  – especially in salty or chlorinated water.

Since their eyes are extremely fragile children must be encouraged to wear sunglasses from birth.  Be sure to choose the glasses carefully . Remember to check that the UV filter quality is mentioned and that the CE brand mark is visible. This European standard of UV protection guarantees that sunglasses will not allow more than 5% of UVB rays to pass through.  Choose glasses which display their category clearly and wherever possible select a product from Category 3. Opt for styles with large frames, which cover the eyes and eyelids (right up to the eyebrows), and wrap around at the sides.  The glasses should fit as close as possible to the face.

Finally, remember to protect yourself in the same way as you take care of your children.