Sun Safety

Children in the Sun

  • Over half of Ontario children spend at least two hours in the summer sun.
  • Children’s eyes have large pupils and clear lenses, allowing a lot of sunlight to enter.
  • UV rays can harm the eyes at any time of day and all year round, even when it’s cloudy.

Sun Exposure and Your Skin and Eyes

Exposure to UV rays can lead to:

  • Skin cancer
  • Eye lesions
  • Skin damage
  • Cataracts
  • Sunburns
  • Retinal burns

Children are often outside when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are the strongest.

Protect Your Skin and Eyes from the Sun

Time of Day: If you can, limit time in the sun when the UV Index is 3 or higher, usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shade: Seek shade or make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent or pop-up shade shelter. Keep babies younger than 1 year of age out of direct sunlight.

Cover Up: Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible or UV-protective clothing. Wear a wide brimmed hat or baseball cap with flaps that cover the head, neck and ears.

Sunscreen: Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant’. Reapply when needed (especially after swimming, sweating, or towelling). Use a sunscreen lip balm.

Sunglasses: Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection. Children’s and babies’ sunglasses should be unbreakable.

 Things to Avoid

  • Children and teens should avoid getting a tan or a sunburn.
  • Don’t expose children to UV rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead.

Reproduced with permission from the Ontario Sun Safety Working Group, 2017.