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Special Considerations for Children

Recent medical research shows that it is important to protect children and young adults from overexposure to UV radiation.

For babies under 6 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding sun exposure, and dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats.

Parents can also apply sunscreen (SPF 30+) to small areas like the face and back of the hands if protective clothing and shade are not available.

Download the Action Steps
(PDF) (2pp, 79KB, About PDF).
EPA Related Links
US Environmental Protection Agency
American Melanoma Foundations
Sun Smart
National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention
National Associations
UVAwareness.org and the following links to non-EPA sites do not imply any official EPA endorsement. EPA does not accept any responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented on www.uvawareness.org or at those above linked locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. Please see EPA's disclaimer for more information.


About SunWise

"SunWise" is an "EPA" health and environmental education program that aims to teach children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun. Through the use of classroom, school, and community components, SunWise develops sustained sun-safe behaviors.

EPA'S SunWise program was launched in 2000 and is currently taught in over 29,000 schools in all 50 states, Washington DC, and the territories. The program has demonstrated effectiveness at raising awareness and changing behaviors related to sun safety. SunWise has also been shown to prevent skin cancer cases and save public health costs.

Why Be SunWise?

Green Scene: Be SunWise with sun safe tips.

The ozone layer forms a thin shield in the upper atmosphere, protecting life on Earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. In the 1980s, scientists began accumulating evidence that the ozone layer was being depleted. Depletion of the ozone layer results in increased UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health effects, such as skin cancer, cataracts, and immune suppression.

Action Steps for Sun Safety

While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in a painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk. This Web page explains simple steps to protect you and your children from overexposure to UV radiation.

Most people are not aware that skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually. By following some simple steps, you can still enjoy your time in the sun and protect yourself from overexposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends these action steps to help you and your family be SunWise.

Early detection of melanoma can save your life.
A new or changing mole should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

Do Not Burn
Sunburns significantly increase one's lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.
Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds
UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.

Generously Apply Sunscreen
Generously apply about one ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and provide broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Wear Protective Clothing
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.
Seek Shade
Seek shade when possible, and remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand
Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Check the UV Index
The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.

Get Vitamin D Safely
Get Vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don't seek the sun.

Whether you're worried about developing melanoma, making decisions about treatment, or trying to stay well after treatment, the American Cancer Society can help.

If you are facing melanoma, American Cancer Society can help you learn about your treatment options and possible side effects, and point you to information and services to help you get through treatment and live well afterward.

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