Additionally, as their skin presents a large surface area relative to their bodyweight, they are more at risk when it comes to absorption of environmental substances.
There is some concern that chemical sunscreens (those that use ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate, could potentially be harmful for children, and that mineral sunscreens are safer, especially when they are made without the use of nano-technology. Nano technology breaks down light-reflecting minerals into very small particles for cosmetic reasons; tinier particles make the screen appear less white on the skin. However, this whiteness can be an advantage for parents; being able to see where the screen is on a fast-moving child is a bonus! Weleda’s much-loved Edelweiss Suncare range is being relaunched this year – which contains no chemical or nano filters. Meanwhile, Organii (pravera.co.uk) have a range of organic sun creams which contain pongamol to protect sensitive skins from UVA and UVB rays, and Alba Botanica’s Mineral Spray (kinetic4health.co.uk) is water resistant and ideal for sensitive skin.
Another, practical alternative to avoid burns is to double-duty your family’s swimwear – hunt for UV protective shorts and tops. Platypus Australia (platypusaustralia.com) sells high quality, affordable swimwear and rash shirts – perfect for kids who hate being smothered in sunscreen, while Nipper Skipper’s eye-popping Long Wave UV swim shirts and cropped pants are made in the UK. Go for long-length shorts for boys and girls and there’s even less skin to have to keep topped up with slap. Nipper Skipper also have a neat UV Buddy Bracelet – pop one on and the colour-changing beads will remind you when it’s time to apply more sunscreen.
If you’re headed out for the day, stick a lightweight, pop-up, UV-protecting tent in your bag – we like the one at Safetots (safetots.co.uk) – not only are they a great place to retreat to from the beating sun, but also a good way to keep your belongings safe while you’re swimming, and to shelter in if the weather isn’t quite as sunny as you thought. The Olpro ‘beach hut’ makes a fun alternative - pop it up in the garden or on the seashore for added protection with a jaunty look!