The sun, sunburn and (young) children

It is important to protect children from the sun from an early age. About 90 percent of skin cancer cases are caused by the sun. In most cases, skin cancer is not a fatal disease, but the number of deaths from skin cancer is increasing. What can you do to protect your child from the sun as best as possible? How do you use sunscreen properly? What is UV-resistant (swimming) clothing? What role does vitamin D play and why is wearing sunglasses or sun hat important?

The sun and harmful radiation (UVA)

The most harmful samples (UV A) from the sun pass through clouds and glass. So you can also easily burn on a (slightly) cloudy day or if you sit close to the window. The difficult thing is that you do not immediately notice the effects of the sun on your skin (unless you are burned). But the sun causes the skin to age faster and the risk of skin cancer increases significantly.
The KWF Cancer Control website states that “the skin of (young) children is extra vulnerable. Because children are growing, cell division occurs so quickly that not all damaged skin cells have been able to repair themselves before they start dividing again. In These damaged cells create ‘scars’ that children carry with them for the rest of their lives. This is not visible on the outside: the damage is deep in the skin cells. But the more ‘scars’, the greater the chance that a child will die later in life. get skin cancer.” That is why sun protection is so important, especially for children.

Tips to prevent sun damage in (young) children as much as possible

  • Be careful not to burn your child’s skin.
  • Keep children out of the sun as much as possible between 12 noon and 3 p.m.
  • Keep children under 1 year completely out of direct sun.
  • Let children play in the shade as much as possible on sunny days.
  • Do not let children walk naked or in swimwear for too long, clothing (even non-UV resistant) provides protection.
  • Have children wear a cap or sun hat to protect their heads and faces.
  • Apply every day from April to October, because then the UV index is generally 3 or higher (light-skinned children sometimes need to apply the product as early as March on sunny days).
  • Apply sunscreen to your child half an hour before going outside.
  • Apply the lotion to your child before going to school, daycare or playgroup and ask if they would also like to apply the lotion to your child when he/she goes outside again later in the day.
  • Use protection factor 20 or higher.
  • Set a good example yourself.


How does sunscreen work?

If you apply a sunscreen properly and according to the rules, a product protects with:

  • factor 15 against 94% of the sun’s rays
  • factor 30 against 97% of the sun’s rays

A higher factor does not protect so much, but is better for fair skin. However, there is no factor/filter that protects you 100% against the sun’s rays!

Use sunscreen properly

It is important to use sunscreen correctly. This depends on your child’s skin type, the strength of the sun and the activity your child does.

  • Spread thick enough
  • Apply every two hours
  • Apply immediately after swimming (even if the sunscreen is waterproof/resistant)


Set a good example yourself

Children are little copier. By setting a good example yourself, applying the cream becomes a matter of course. In fact, applying sunscreen (and possibly wearing a cap) should become a given, just like combing your hair and brushing your teeth.

UV-resistant (swimming) clothing

With UV-resistant (swimming) clothing, most of the solar radiation is blocked (depending on the impregnation). You do not need to apply sunscreen to the parts of the body where the UV-resistant clothing is located. Especially at the sea, lakes and when using baths in the garden, this is often better than having to always apply sunscreen to the entire body (of course, the bare parts such as face, neck, hands and feet still need to be applied).

Apply! The national campaign to protect children from the sun

Dr. Jetske Ultee (research doctor in cosmetic dermatology) wants to make people aware of the harmful effects of the sun on the skin. That is why she founded the Sunwiser foundation. This foundation has developed teaching materials that schools can download for free via the site

The sun and vitamin D

The sun plays an important role in the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D ensures good resistance, strong bones and teeth and less osteoporosis in the elderly. It is important to know that the use of sunscreen does not affect the production of vitamin D.

Sunglasses for children

It is sometimes forgotten that the sun’s rays can also be harmful to the eyes. The pigment build-up in the eyes lasts up to 12 years. This allows more light and UV rays to pass through in young children. Good sunglasses are therefore important for young children. There are special sunglasses for babies with an elastic that keeps them in place. It is useful to know that the color of the tint of the lenses is not important, but the protective factor (UV factor) is important. In addition, large glasses are better than small glasses. A sun hat or sun visor can also help as eye protection.

read more

  • Reading aloud is important for children’s language skills
  • Exhibition Wiskids: mathematics for toddlers and preschoolers
  • The language development of young children
  • Kijkwijzer and (young) children
  • Moving with (young) children

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