10 July 2017
Sun Safety

Somerset County Council is encouraging parents and carers to protect children from the harmful effects of the sun at home or abroad this summer.


Somerset has the 15th highest incidence of malignant melanoma diagnosis compared to other areas in England and on average between the years 2013-15 there were 37 skin cancer deaths each year


Exposing children to too much sun may significantly increase their risk of skin cancer later in life. Covering up, staying in the shade and using sunscreen are the best ways to protect children against the sun. More people develop skin cancer in Somerset on average compared to the rest of the country. 


Six top safety tips to protect children in the sun:


• Spending some time every day playing outside with faces and arms uncovered will give children the Vitamin D that they need for strong bones. But parents need to make sure children don’t get too much sun and avoid sunburn.

• When the sun is strong encourage children to play in the shade – for example, under trees or a parasol – especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.

• Keep babies under six-months-old out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.

• Cover exposed parts of children’s skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use a high factor sunscreen (at least SPF 15, preferably 30 or above) that is effective against UVA and UVB. Don’t forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet and reapply often throughout the day.

• Cover children up in loose, baggy cotton clothes, such as an oversized t-shirt with sleeves or get them to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.

• Protect children’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard and carry the “CE” mark (check the label or ask the manufacturer).

• If your child is swimming, use waterproof sunscreen and always reapply after towel drying.


You can watch Sparky the Somerset Sun Smartie dragon offering you and your family top tips for sun safety https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLb1BV5G6fc&t=3s 

Or print off a copy of Sparky's colouring activity sheet:Sun Smartie Sparky - colouring sheet.pdf


For more advice on how to protect children in the sun, go to: http://www.somerset.gov.uk/skincancer  


Cancer Research also has lots of advice about protecting children in the sunshine, visit their website: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org


Download a copy of the Sun Safe poster: Sun Smart Poster.pdf