Sun Safety By The Numbers

Sun Safety for Au Pairs and Nannies

The days are longer, the weather is nicer, and you and the kids are out in the sun more often. You should be aware of the dangers of too much sun to yourself and to your charges. Prevention is the correct approach to proper sun care. Besides staying inside all day or wearing long sleeves and long pants all summer, the formula for the summer and the sun is found in the numbers.

10 to 2: The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 2 PM. Try to avoid exposure and activities in the sun during those hours.

15: Sunscreen is essential when time is spent outside, even in the shade or on a cloudy day. An SPF rating of 15 is fine for adults and children. Higher SPF ratings may provide longer protection, but do not protect better than an SPF of 15. Sunscreens lose potency over time so buy fresh stock every summer. Opaque zinc oxide provides the best protection but it is not cosmetically pleasing. Suntan oils provide little or no protection and should be avoided.

30: Two tablespoons, 30 ml. is the proper amount of sunscreen to use per application when sufficient product is applied.

45: Apply sunscreen 45 minutes prior to exposure to the sun.

20 and 2: Re-apply sunscreen every two hours. Swimming, running, or other intense activity causes sweating and loss of sunscreen. In those circumstances, re-apply every 20 minutes.

1: Most people do not apply enough suntan lotion. One entire bottle of sunscreen should be used for one family of four spending a day in the sun.

The lenses of sunglasses should be made of glass, not plastic. Be certain that the glasses are 100% UVA and UVB protective and those they are impact resistant. Prescription lenses can be customized as desired.

Hats also aid in protecting your charges from sun damage. Girls are more likely to wear full-brimmed hat than boys. If your charge will only wear baseball-type caps, be sure to apply sunscreen to the neck and the ears.

Finally, if mild sun damage does occur, the best treatment is usually ice or cold compresses. Avoid any alcohol-based products. Blistering, weeping, and severe sunburn all require medical attention.

Do you have any tips for caring for children outdoors this summer?


  1. I put the suntan lotion on the children as they are changing out of their pajamas and getting dressed for the day. Then, the rest of the day I continue to apply suntan lotion as if I had never applied it first thing in the morning.The problem I have is when the children go to camp during the day they are probably not applying it again unless their counselors are making them apply it, which is unlikely with so many children. Also, the children I care for hate hate hate the feeling of suntan lotion and put as little on as possible if they apply it themselves. They complain whenever I apply it but I have decided I will punish them if the complain when I apply suntan lotion this year. It has to be done, so just stop complaining!I will print this article and show it to the children. We should be using a bottle a day (since they start camp at 9am and end at 3pm and I often take them to the pool after camp!!I had no idea it was that much! Good to know!

  2. I personally like using the continuous spray now instead of the lotions. But, you still have to rub in the spray to make sure it's soaking into the child's skin and not just evaporating off. When I use the spray I do go through it very fast, typically a bottle per day on two children at the pool for the day.Marissa, Newark NJ

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