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Sun safety tips-Protecting your children

Sun safety starts at a very early age. Due to the high UV index in Brisbane, it’s vitally important we protect our infants, babies, and toddlers from harmful radiation early in life. Developing good habits, including the twice daily use of a sunscreen, as well as hats and rash suits during water exposure sets a foundation for sun protection in adult life. Sunburn in early life markedly increases the chances of developing melanoma.

Important facts on sun protection and children

  • Brisbane and Queensland has one of the highest UV indexes in the world
  • Developing sun protection habits starts early in life, at home
  • Sunscreen can be safely applied to babies after 6 months of age
  • Use sunscreens in conjunction with hats and long sleeve cotton clothing
  • Have 2 types of sunscreen available- a daily one, and one for the beach
  • One episode of childhood sunburn can double the chances of developing melanoma in adult life
  • Children will develop more moles as they grow
  • Changing or suspicious moles should be photographed, documented or actioned accordingly
  • Skin cancer in children is very rare
  • If you are unsure about a mole, a Dermatologist or skin cancer doctor can provide a management plan

What type of sunscreen should I use?

brisbane UV index

Choose the type of sunscreen that suits the situation. For children, Skin Cancer Doctors recommend 2 types.

 

Daily sunscreen: This should be used twice a day. A non- greasy formulation is essential or your kids will hate using it! La Roche Posay is an excellent formulation.

 

Activity sunscreen: This is greasy, but waterproof, and is ideal for the beach or outdoor activities. Apply every 2-4 hours, especially in the Queensland sun.

When should children start having mole checks?

children-and sunscreen

This is a hard one to call. Children will develop moles as they grow up, in fact most people will ‘collect’ more moles till the age of 30. There after there is a slow decline in the number of moles.

 

If your child is ‘moley’ or if you or your GP is unsure in regards to the safety of moles, a mole check by either a skin cancer doctor or Dermatologist is needed.  Both skin cancer doctors and Dermatologists manage moles in children in very similar ways- in the vast majority of times we professionally measure

Can skin cancer occur in children?

sunscreen and kidsYes. Melanomas and other skin cancers can occur in children, however these forms of skin cancers are very rare. The incidence of skin cancers increases in the post-teen years.

How can I reduce the risk of skin cancer in adult life?

UV protection for kids

Reducing risks factors in adult life starts off in childhood. It takes just one episode of blistering sun burn in early life to DOUBLE the chances of developing melanoma in adult life. Start educating your children young- slip, slop, and slap.

 

Developing good habits of twice daily sunscreen use, as well as hats and rashies, will protect your children, and reduce their chances of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

How do My Skin Cancer Clinic doctors manage moles in children?

mole checks in children

Skin cancer, especially melanomas are exceedingly rare in children, however we never take risks! Moles are carefully examined by a process called dermatoscopy. We look for subtle changes within the mole, and will measure, document and photography the mole. Children are then reviewed every 3 -12 months, and comparison photographs are taken.

 

Moles in children should grow at the same rate as the child, and not quicker.

When should I start to use sunscreen on children?

AGRE1X Mother hand is creaming her child on the beach Summer holidayThese recommendations are based upon the US Skin Cancer Foundation, and follow the general consensus of Skin Cancer Specialists.

 

0- Six Months (INFANTS)

 

  • Skin is still developing and too sensitive for sunscreen application
  • 2 minutes in Brisbane’s mid summer sun can give a significant burn
  • Infants are still developing Melanin, and hence prone to sun burn as very little protection is present
  • Bottom line- keep infants in shaded areas, away from direct sunlight
  • Go on walk either early in the am, or late evening

 

 

Six Months to One Year old (BABIES)

 

  • You can start applying sunscreen to exposed areas of the skin, including the face, arms and hands
  • Apply a gentle low irritant formulation, at least 15 minutes before sunexposure, reapply every 2- 4 hours
  • Sunscreen with at least a factor 30+ is recommended

 

Toddlers and Pre-school age

 

  • This age group receives a lot of UV, as they enjoy playing outside
  • Remember, Brisbane has one of the highest UV index of any Western City, and it only takes a few minutes to get sunburn
  • Develop a habit of wearing sunscreen before play time
  • Always use hats and long sleeve, light, cotton clothing that is cool and comfortable
  • Rashies and water resistant sunscreen are essential when going to the beach