Sun protection tips for families

Two children in a field of sunflowers

No more chasing the kids around with sunscreen, no more arguments about wearing hats and no more sunburned skin – this spring and summer can be your most SunSmart ever.

It’s easier than you think. Just follow these five simple steps:

1. SunSmart starts with mums and dads

We know it’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea of putting yourself before your kids, but there’s several reasons why you should make sure your sun protection is up to task first.

The key reason is your own health. No matter your age, it’s never too late to cut your risk of skin cancer. All you have to do is get better about using sun protection. Of course this isn’t really a selfish thing to do – by looking after your health, you’re making sure you’re able to look after everyone else.

The second reason parents and carers have for being SunSmart is that children learn by looking to the adults around them. Role model your sun protective habits and they’ll follow suit. Parents are so influential that one study found children are 16 times more likely to apply sunscreen if their parents do. Don’t underestimate your own power!

2. Use UV reminders

You can’t see or feel UV radiation (the culprit behind those sunburns, tans and skin cancers), which is why we so often get caught out by sunburn on days when it’s cold or overcast.

Keep sun protection on the agenda by checking the sun protection times each day for your location with the free SunSmart app. Set a daily reminder and encourage the kids to check it so everyone knows the times of day you’ll need sun protection (and when the hats can come off!). No more excuses.

3. Create an off-duty SunSmart uniform

Dressing in covering clothing is a simple way to prevent UV damage. Most schools and workplaces have fairly sun safe uniforms – think collared shirts and 3/4 length sleeves. But what about weekends and holidays?

Look for ways to improve pieces that leave you exposed. For example, a strappy dress can be made more SunSmart with a light jacket on top or a t-shirt underneath.

When you’re buying new clothes, look for higher necklines, long sleeves, longer skirts and pants. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are perfect to keep you cool as well as covered.

And of course, everyone needs a broad-brimmed hat!

4. Sunscreen: choose it and use it

A bunch of studies have proven sunscreen is a safe and effective way to prevent cancer, so it’s a must-have tool in your summer kit. Just remember that tube of sunscreen sitting at the back of the cupboard may have expired, so check the label.

Sunscreen can be a lotion, gel, spray or cream.  Drag the family to your local pharmacy and sample a few different sunscreens to find something everyone likes the feel of. As long as it's SPF30 (or higher), broad-spectrum and water-resistant, you’re onto a winner. 

5. Keep the SunSmart kit in plain sight

Now you’ve made sure everyone has a hat that fits and a sunscreen they like, it’s no good packing them away to be forgotten about. Instead, keep them right next to the door so they’re easy to grab on the way outside.

Remember, protecting your skin in the sun is as important as wearing a seatbelt while driving. Be SunSmart for you, for them, for life.

Belinda's story Myths about sun protection Get the free SunSmart app for your family


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