ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
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Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal

 

Best Ways to Protect Children's Skin, Eyes, and Health from the Harmful Effects of the Sun

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Other Information and Guidance You Might Also Want to Look At

 

Practical and best sun protection measures for babies, toddlers and young children in home-based and centres 

© ChildForum

Always use sun protection measures during peak UVR times between September and April, especially between 10am and 4pm (or Terms 1 & 4 in early childhood services).

During the winter months and outside of these hours sunhats and other sun protection measures are usually not necessary and can be harmful for children's health. It can be harmful because some UV radiation exposure through being outdoors is important for vitamin D production. Vitamin D is really important for young children's bone, muscle and brain development.

When the UVR levels are high or there is high reflectivity (e.g. off snow) then measures need to be taken to protect children's skin and eyes.

The basics of sun protection for young children include:

  • Protective clothing
  • A suitable hat
  • Broad-spectrum SPF30+ water resistant sunscreen
  • Shade when outdoors
  • Sunglasses when a hat cannot be used

This article brings together and details the accepted best practice recommendations of health experts, WHO and the Cancer Society for each of the above and relates these to the context of early childhood education and care and what you can do.

Then the article discusses special considerations for infants and toddlers.

 

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