Common questions about sun protection our doctors are asked

Does my child need to wear sunscreen if it is sunny in the early morning or late afternoon? What about during sunny days in winter?

Sun protection is needed whenever UV levels are 3 and above which is usually from mid-August to the end of April in Victoria (not just the warmer months). Depending on the time of year, sun protection may be needed from early morning to late afternoon. Always use a combination of sun protection measures during the sun protection times and never rely on sunscreen alone.

Generally the UV levels in the early morning or late afternoon as not as high as the middle of the day so it is best to encourage play outside during these times. If the UV level is 2 or below, sunscreen and other sun protection measures are not usually needed unless in high altitudes, near highly reflective surfaces or outdoors for extended periods. 

However, whenever the UV level is above 3, your child should always be protected from the sun (with clothing, hats, sunglasses and shade) and wear sunscreen. So check the UV level rather than using the outside temperature, the season, or the time of day as a guide for whether your child needs sun protection.


When should my children start having regular skin checks for moles?

Children don’t need to have regular skin checks with a doctor or skin clinic. From late adolescence it is good practice for young people to begin monitoring their skin. For any changes or new spots, or if you are concerned about any specific moles on your child, see your GP.


Should I send my child to school with sunscreen?

On days that will have UV levels of 3 or higher you should make sure your child is wearing sunscreen when they go to school. It is a good idea for your child to take their own sunscreen to school so they can reapply it every two hours. Teachers are not expected to apply sunscreen; however, the Victorian Department of Education and Training does encourage schools to have a sun and UV protection policy in place, and encourages schools to join the SunSmart program, which specifies that sunscreen should be reapplied throughout the day. 

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