Building better SunSmart habits

​Parents play a critical role in children developing good sun protection habits.

Exposure to UV rays during childhood and adolescence has a major impact on the future risk of skin cancer and damage can still occur on a cool and cloudy day. Since skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, children should always be protected from the sun.

After slipping on clothing that covers the skin, slapping on a broad-brimmed hat, seeking shade for outdoor play and sliding on a pair of sunglasses to reduce UV rays, slop on SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen as the final layer of protection against UV rays.

On days with extreme heat, children should stay somewhere cool, drink plenty of water and seek shade to avoid heat stroke.

These SunSmart tips can help make applying sunscreen fun and easy:

1. Make it simple

Choose an SPF30 (or higher), broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that your child feels comfortable wearing and is easy to apply.

2. Make it fun

Make applying sunscreen a fun part of your child's routine. Encourage your child to put a dot of sunscreen on each cheek, nose and their chin and carefully rub it in (avoiding the eye area). They can add squiggles of sunscreen to any part of their arms and legs not covered by clothing.

On hot days, put sunscreen in the cooler section of your child's lunchbox, so it's cold and refreshing when applying.

3. Start practicing early

Allow children to practice applying sunscreen themselves from around the age of three. This will help them to develop this skill before they start kindergarten or school.

4. Make it easy to find

Set up a sunscreen station in the bathroom at home, so children can apply their sunscreen in front of the mirror and then wipe their hands.

5. Make it easy to remember to reapply

The 2021 Prep bags include fun SunSmart stickers to remind students to slip, slop, slap, slide and seek before they play outdoors. Stick them around the house to start the conversation with your child about sun protection.

Try a clip-on sunscreen that can hang from your child's bag as a visual reminder.

6. Be a SunSmart role model

Apply sunscreen with your child, so they can watch and learn and follow your lead.

Find out more

Visit the SunSmart website for more tips on sun protection for children at home, school and kindergarten.

Download the free SunSmart app so you can check UV information in your area.

For more about extreme heat, visit the surviving the heat webpage.