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Children should start wearing sunscreen as early as April and May, according to recommendations from the DMI and the Danish Cancer Society. In spring, the UV index is high enough to burn the skin if you are not protected.
It's not just the season and whether it's cloudy that determines whether we should use sunscreen. The UV index tells us whether we should protect ourselves from the sun's rays with sunscreen, sun hats or shade.
Already in April and May, the UV index exceeds 3, which is high enough to require protection.
"The earlier the child is exposed to UV radiation and sunburns, the higher the risk of developing skin cancer later in life ". - The fight against cancer on sun protection for children.
Children's skin is both lighter and thinner than adults', making them extra vulnerable to the sun's rays. That's why it's a good idea to protect children with sunscreen from April to September.
The diagram shows that spring and summer have the highest temperatures - and thus the highest UV index. The UV index increases with temperature.
The four sun tips
The Danish Cancer Society has developed four sun protection tips that are effective in protecting both children and adults from sunburn.
- Turn off the tanning bed
In addition, it is recommended to turn down the sun between 12-15. This is when temperatures are at their highest, which means UV radiation is also high.
How to read the UV index
As long as the UV index is below 3, you don't need protection from the sun. When it is between 3 and 6, you need to protect yourself with sunscreen, a sun hat and clothing. Above 6, it is recommended to seek shade.
In Denmark in summer, the index reaches a maximum of 7, but if you move closer to the equator, it can reach 15 in the hot midday hours. So remember a factor 50 sunscreen with UV protection if you're like many people travelling south for the holidays.
In collaboration with the Trygfonden, the Danish Cancer Society has developed an app that contains a clear guide. The app tells you how high the UV index is and whether you should protect yourself and your children from the sun's rays.
The app includes sun advice and a skin type guide. Children and adults with fair or freckled skin are more likely to get sunburnt and need extra care.
The app is called UV Index and can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.
What factor sunscreen for children?
If the sunscreen is only to be used in Denmark, a factor of 15 is enough, according to the Danish Cancer Society. If you are travelling south on holiday, where the UV index can exceed 6, you need factor 50.
Sunscreen should be applied in generous amounts. If you want to protect the whole body, use the equivalent of a handful on the child you are applying it to. If you apply too thin a layer, the sunscreen will not live up to the specified factor. Therefore, you can easily factor 30 for children, especially if they have fair skin.
The best sunscreen for children
When choosing a sunscreen, the Danish Cancer Society recommends that you choose one that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Also go for a sunscreen that has both the Swan and Asthma-Allergy labels.
Wear UV swimwear and sunhat
More and more people are discovering UV swimwear. On the beach, children run around in swimwear and are exposed to the sun. The water reflects the sun's light, which increases UV radiation. Still, on a beach trip, it can be difficult to keep the kids under the umbrella during the hot hours of 12-15.
Remember to reapply sunscreen if children have been in the water or sweating. Then some of the sunscreen will have washed away and the UV rays can penetrate.
A sun hat protects the head, ears and neck which are very exposed to the sun.
For children, it's a good idea to choose a large-brimmed Legionnaire's hat or bobble hat that effectively covers the neck and ears.
Seeking shade during the day is an effective way to avoid burns. Take the parasol to the beach and put the sun canopy on the pram. If you have a garden where the children play, make sure there are nice shaded areas where they can play. Especially in the hot hours between 12 & 15, it's a good idea to keep the children in the shade.