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Sun Safety

Keep your family safe from the sun

When school is out, most kids head outdoors for some fun in the sun. Playing outdoors, participating in sports, swimming, and riding bikes are all healthy ways to get your family outside and exercising. However, it's equally important that you protect your family from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Although childhood melanoma is rare, practicing sun safety at a young age can help children avoid skin cancer as adults. 

  • Skin cancer is responsible for more than half of all cancers and affects people of all races. 
  • Around 95% of skin cancers are caused by the sun.  
  • The sun’s UV rays are at their strongest during the summer, and unprotected skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes.

The good news is that there are easy ways for families to protect themselves from the sun and still have fun outside.

Tips for Families

  1. Wear sunscreen - Make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 and protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Show your children that putting on sunscreen is the first step of putting on their play clothes so that it becomes routine. 
  2. Apply sunscreen liberally and often - Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside to allow it to absorb. Reapply every two hours or more often after swimming or sweating. Don't forget places such as the ears, and wear SPF lip balm.
  3. Wear protective clothing - There are several lines of clothing that are sun protective and made to wear in the summer. Also, encourage your children to wear hats and sunglasses. Younger children often model themselves after their parents. If your child resists wearing a hat, try wearing one yourself.
  4. Avoid peak hours - Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun is at its strongest so try to play in the shade. 
  5. Avoid tanning beds - Tanning beds expose you to the same UV rays as the sun and are harmful to the skin. Try using sunless tanning lotion or spray tan instead.

Additional Resources


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center