Sunscreen Savvy: A Parent’s Playbook for Safe Fun in the Sun


08 Mar 2024

Sunscreen Savvy: A Parent’s Playbook for Safe Fun in the Sun

Daisy First Aid
Sunscreen Savvy: A Parent’s Playbook for Safe Fun in the Sun

Sunscreen: A Parent’s Guide

As we (finally!) enter the warmer months of the year it’s important to remember to keep your little one safe from the sun’s rays. The sun in the UK is strongest in the UK between March and October between 11 am and 3 pm. In the UK it’s possible to burn even when it’s cloudy so it’s important to keep your little one covered up or apply sunscreen to their skin. Extra care must be taken with children to ensure they never burn.

What factor sunscreen (SPF) should I use?

Don’t just rely on sunscreen alone to protect your child from the sun. Dress them in protective clothing and ensure they stay in the shade as much as possible when the sun’s at its hottest. We’d recommend using factor 50 on children.

When buying sunscreen the label should have:

A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 (50+ for children) and at least 4-star UVA protection

UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters UVA in a circle, which shows that the sunscreen meets EU standards.

Make sure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date.

What are the SPF and star ratings?

The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) protection.

SPFs are rated on a scale of 2 to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with 50+ offering the strongest form of UVB protection.

The star rating measures the amount of ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection. You should see a star rating of up to 5 stars on UK sunscreens. The higher the star rating, the better.

Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called broad spectrum.

How and when to apply sunscreen

Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced.

You should apply sunscreen to your child twice:

- 30 minutes before going out

- just before going out

Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, and head. But hats should be worn by little ones.

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally and frequently, and according to the manufacturer's instructions.

This includes applying it straight after you have been in the water, even if it's "water resistant", and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off.

It's recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.

What’s the best sunscreen for kids?

As long as you’re following the guidance above any brand should be fine. If you have a child with eczema you may want to check the ingredients and make sure you’re getting something as gentle as possible for their skin. Brands that have sunscreen specifically for babies and children are less likely to have additives in them but it’s still worth checking what’s in it.

One of our favourite parents hacks is using a makeup brush to apply sunscreen to a child’s face – this makes it more fun (they can pretend they’re having face paints done) and is great if your child doesn’t like having cream put on their face.

What about babies?

Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept cool and out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun.

Older babies should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible. If you go out when it's hot and sunny, attach a parasol or sunshade to your baby's pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight.

It’s not recommended to cover buggies and prams with muslins or blankets because this can increase the temperature and reduce air flow inside the buggy and this can be dangerous on a hot day.

For babies over 6 months apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 (but preferably 50+) to your baby's skin.

Apply the sunscreen regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or paddling pool. 

Make sure your child wears a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun. If they don’t want to keep it on try on that ties under the chin.


By Daisy First Aid

Daisy First Aid provides award-winning first-aid classes for parents and childcare professionals all over the UK. To find your local Daisy trainer head to

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