hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

Important information on sun protection for children, sunscreens, sunglasses, UV protection clothing etc.

Sun Protection

The importance of protecting ourselves and families from the sun is
becoming more widely understood and appreciated and the possible dangers
involved are now appreciated, particularly where children are involved.

With this in mind, you may find the following very general
information of interest although we would always recommend that you seek
professional advice in order to ensure you are taking the correct
precautions for your particular circumstances.


Can sunscreens be used on babies and young children?

We have no evidence to suggest that sunscreens are harmful to young children when used
in small amounts on the face and hands. Their skin, however, is more likely than an
adult’s to absorb the ingredients in the sunscreens, and the rest of their body is best
protected with clothing

* rather than sunscreen. Babies under 6 months old should be kept
out of the sun altogether.

What do SPF numbers mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and is a laboratory measure, which grades the
ability of a sunscreen to filter out UVB rays. The higher the number, the more protection
you get. The number gives you an idea of how much longer it would take your skin to become
red when using a sunscreen, compared to being in the sun without using a sunscreen. For
example, SPF 15 means you can spend fifteen times as long in the sun than if you were
unprotected, before getting burned*. However, we also now believe that life time exposure
to the sun increases our risk of skin cancer. So the Cancer Research Campaign recommends
the use of SPF 15+ products for everyone. If you are unsure ask your pharmacist for

What is the shelf life of a sunscreen?

Most sunscreens will last about two years, and should be stored at a temperature less
than 250C. Sunscreens vary considerably is their ability to survive heat
undamaged, but if you leave them in excessive heat (for instance in the glove-box of a hot
car or in the sun on a beach), you run the risk that the product will deteriorate.

Types of sunscreens

Cream sunscreens use either physical barriers to reflect the sun’s rays and/or chemical
absorbers to soak up UV radiation before it reaches the skin.

Green People
Sun Care
formulations combine sun blocking and sun reflecting ingredients with antioxidants to
support the skin’s natural immune system and help protect against cell damage.

Manufacturers cannot claim a Sun Protection Factor rating (SPF) without using an
officially listed sun filter. Green People chose titanium dioxide, a mineral pigment found
in nature known to reflect the sun’s rays away from the skin. Another sun filter derived
from cinnamon acid is added. Both ingredients are highly effective and are unlikely to
irritate even the most sensitive skin.  A star rating indicates a ratio of UVA and
UVB protection, so for young children a SPF minimum of 15 with 4 stars would be wise.

Waterproof sunscreens are not the best choice if your child might need to sweat.
Sweating is your child’s natural way of cooling his body. Remember too that even
waterproof sunscreens are not clothing and towel proof.

How to use sunscreens

Ensure your chosen product is applied to all exposed areas, liberally (1-1.5mm)
– if you only apply a thin layer it will provide less protection that the SPF on the
bottle suggests. Apply to the skin approximately half and hour before going outside and be
sure to re-apply frequently if sun exposure is to continue. Re-apply after swimming or
excessive perspiration.


Sunglasses conforming to British standard 2724 or equivalent should protect eyes
against sun damage that is thought to speed cataract formation and degeneration of the

UV Protection clothing

UV protective clothing, BEWARE some makes offer low protection which decreases
even further when the garments are wet – not exactly what you want when trying to protect
your children from harmful UV in a beach/swimming pool environment.

The highest quality UV protective fabric (C-TexTM) which provides maximum protection in
both wet and dry states is used in our UV suits, wide brimmed and Legionnaires hats and is
guaranteed to provide a minimum UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor) of 100+. They even
have removable wear tags so that the tags can be removed from your child’s suit for example
and returned (free of charge) for periodic testing to re-affirm the UPF rating if for
example it is passed down from one child to the next.

Rory enjoyed romping around in his suit and Legionnaire’s hat on the beach and in the
Indian Ocean in Durban South Africa, where the temperatures were in the 30’s with high
humidity. The breathable suit kept him cool and comfortable and pale and interesting. I
rinsed it out every night and it was ready to wear again by the morning.

Remember the main
objective isn’t to get someplace, it’s to have fun times together.

*I have
received the following comments from Sasha Wilson

“The information you give on sun protection for children is
inaccurate. Many clothes provide NO protection from UV light whatsoever and
sun BLOCK should be used on face, hands, arms, legs, shoulders, backs and
torsos if there is likely to be sun exposure. In other words, sunblock should
be used on the entire body. I speak as someone who has researched sun problems
due to my own situation – I am so light sensitive that I cannot go outside
until it is truly dark. Childhood exposure to UV increases the chance of skin
cancer by multiples that I dare not quote.

You may also be interested to know that the condition of ‘Prickly Heat’ is
non existent. Almost always the symptoms attributed to Prickly Heat are due to
a condition called Polymorphic Light Eruption, which is thought to affect as
many as 1 in 15 people, although most sufferers can live totally normal lives
without the need for diagnosis.

I came by your site running a search for a UV proof suit, which is going to
be the only way for me to go outside and play with my children.

I hope this information is of help to you, and I am pleased to see that the
idea of ‘sun sense’ is at last getting through. Now if governments will start
to put controls on sunbeds, which are now thought to be causing nearly as much
cancer as cigarettes we may start getting somewhere! :”

This information is given in
good faith but I would like to stress I am not qualified in this subject so
would recommend that you consult professionals.  Research, advice and
products regularly change so you may find it worthwhile checking out the
following sites which should feature the most up to date information on the