Over exposure to UV radiation from the sun in childhood or adolescence increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life. Teach your child how to apply sunscreen properly, and they'll be able to protect themselves even when you're not around.
When the number hits 3, protect from UV. Check the daily UV alert in your local newspaper or at www.cancercouncil.com.au/sunsmart. A UV level of 1 or 2 will not damage most skin types, but a UV level of 3 or above can be harmful even on a cloudy day.
Apply early. Sunscreen needs to be applied 20 minutes before going outside so it can bind to the skin. Slathering it on just before you go outdoors can still lead to burns and damage.
Be generous. Adults need one teaspoon for the face, neck and ears, and a teaspoon for each arm.
Reapply often. Set a timer and reapply frequently - especially when your child is swimming or perspiring. This also helps cover any little bits that have been missed in the first application.
Protect your eyes. Even kids need protection from the sun and glare in an Australian summer. Look for children's sunglasses that:
- are a close fitting, wrap-around style that cover as much of the eye area as possible
- meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003 (Sunglasses and fashion spectacles: sunglasses category 2, 3 or 4).