Sun protection for dark skin
Although children with naturally dark skin (skin that rarely or never burns) are at lower risk of skin cancer than children with a fair skin color, it is important to keep in mind that all sun exposure carries a risk of skin and eye damage and skin cancer. While some sun exposure is necessary for the production of vitamin D, extended and deliberate sun exposure without any form of sun protection when the UV index is 3 or above is not recommended, even for those diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. If you are concerned about your child’s vitamin D levels, or you think they are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, you should talk to your GP. See our fact sheet Vitamin D.
Sunscreen and babies
Babies under 12 months should not be exposed to direct sun when UV levels reach 3 or higher.
The Australasian College of Dermatologists does not recommend the widespread use of sunscreen on infants under six months. Protection such as shade, clothing and broad-brimmed hats are the best protection for infants, with sunscreen used on very small areas of skin.
Some parents worry about their child’s skin reacting to sunscreen. There are many sunscreens made for babies or toddlers that are gentle on sensitive skin. Test the sunscreen on a small area of your child’s skin to make sure they don’t have a reaction.