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Safety for Toddlers in Heat and Sun


parents and toddlers wearing hats and playing on sandy beach


Young children need to be protected from too much sun. Toddlers can easily overheat and their tender skin is vulnerable.  

Here's some advice on helping your child stay safe by being sun smart. 

Make sure they cover up with appropriate clothes even on cloudy or overcast days. A long-sleeved shirt and pants, and a broad brimmed hat are the best clothes to protect the skin. Choose closely woven fabrics. If you can see through clothing easily, then ultraviolet (UV) rays can get through, too.

Offer water and seek shade at regular interval whileyou're outside.  

You can also protect your toddler from sunburns and skin cancer by:

Staying out of the sun and heat

  • Try to keep your toddler out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Never leave your toddler alone in a car.
  • Do not let your toddler get overheated.
  • Make sure your toddler has plenty of water to sip frequently in hot weather.
  • Make sure your toddler takes regular breaks from activity.

Dressing for protection

  • Dress your toddler in loose clothes made from tightly woven fabric.
  • Give your toddler a large brimmed hat with a neck cover and no ties.
  • Put on sunglasses that provide 99 to 100% UVA and UVB protection. Choose sunglasses that have large lenses, fit well and wrap around the sides of the face to help protect against damaging UV rays.

Using sunscreen

  • Choose water resistant sunscreens rated SPF 30 or higher and approved by the Canadian Dermatology Association. (Look for their logo or name on the label.)
  • Apply about 15 ml (1 tbsp.) of sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin.
  • Apply lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Reapply sunscreen about every two hours if your toddler is outside with no indoor breaks - even on cloudy or overcast days.
  • Teach your toddler why sunscreen is important.
  • Do not wait for signs of sunburn to get your toddler out of the sun. Sunburns do not usually show up for six to 24 hours.

The 4-S Protection System

Seek shade.  Slip on a shirt.  Slap on a hat.  Slop on the sunscreen.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Sun Safety for Children
HealthLink BC: Protecting Your Skin From the Sun
HealthLink BC: Sunburn
HealthLink BC: Heat-related Illness
HealthLink BC: Heat-related Illnesses

Last Updated: August 13, 2013