Yes Really – Kids Can Still Get Sunburned In The Shade

Our minds were blown by this revelation.
Vladimir Nadtochiy / 500px via Getty Images

With soaring temperatures becoming more frequent – like this September heatwave in the UK and the world recording its hottest day ever globally on July 3, it’s clear we need to be doing a lot more to prioritise sun (and heat) safety.

And Marie Tudor, CEO of skin cancer awareness charity SKCIN, is here to issue a timely reminder to parents that even when children are playing (or relaxing) in the shade, they can still get sunburned.

In a piece for All Things Mamma, mum Kasey Schwartz recalled how her baby had been sat with her under an umbrella by the pool, but as the day went on, her cheeks started getting red.

“I started to panic a little, wondering what was going on. Then it was getting more apparent that she may be sunburned,” she wrote.

So, how did this happen? The mum has a theory that the UV rays reflected off the pool onto her child’s face. And Marie Tudor says yes, that can happen.

Babies and children, especially if sitting poolside or on the beach, can fall victim to the sun’s harmful rays being reflected off water, light-coloured concrete and sand, back onto their face or body, despite being sat in the shade, she said.

“It is essential for parents to take steps to protect the delicate skin of babies and children by covering them with UV protective clothing, a wide brimmed sun hat and ideally an SPF 50 sunscreen formulated for children’s delicate and sensitive skin,” she advised.

And this includes when kids are travelling in the car too – particularly for longer journeys as they can also accumulate sun damage through windows.

Tudor explains: “Whilst most windscreens are made from laminated glass that filters out ultraviolet light, side vehicle windows are typically made from non-laminated glass which filters out UVB radiation, but not UVA.

“UVA remains at fairly consistent levels during daylight hours, every day of the year and can penetrate cloud cover, fog and glass – meaning all-year-round protection is advisable.”

The skin expert says UVA rays are a worry because they “penetrate the skin at deeper levels than UVB, causing cumulative and irreparable damage that can lead to skin cancer in later life”.

She said babies and young children in particular are more susceptible to sun damage, so she advises using a sunshade like Shady, which protects against up to 86% of the harmful UV rays of the sun.