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Citizen Enfants

Six Ways to Keep Little Ones Safe in the Sun

Summer is almost upon us, but with its wonderful bright days comes the risk of sun damage to children’s delicate skin. 

Here are some simple, yet effective solutions to keep your little ones safe and happy as they play in the sunshine. Easy to travel with, just pop these essentials in your beach bag and you are good to go either home or abroad. 


The most obvious first line of defence against harmful UV rays is sunscreen. But not all are suitable for children’s sensitive skin or provide the required protection. Always go for a very high factor – SPF50 is a must for young children, and make sure that it is ‘broad spectrum’. This means that the sunscreen can protect the skin from both types of UV rays — the UVA rays and the UVB+ rays. Look for a sun cream that is water-resistant, but always reapply after swimming for extra care. It’s estimated we absorb roughly 40 percent of our lifelong UV exposure by the time we turn 18 and childhood sunburn has been shown to increase the risk of developing melanoma later in life, so no matter how much they protest, kids must be covered in sunscreen. Apply a generous amount at least 30 minutes before your child goes into the sun and remember to reapply it every two hours.

La Roche-Posay’s anthelios sunscreen is hard to beat. It’s broad-spectrum and has been developed especially for sensitive skin, plus it’s sweat, water and sand resistant. Other brands to have on your radar include Child’s Farm which is super gentle for baby skin, fragrance-free and vegan and also comes in a handy roll on which makes application easier. Sunbum has an fantastic range including a lightweight SPF50 spray that is really easy to apply to children that won’t sit still for long. For teens, try Spots & Stripes sun squad sensitive skin SPF30. While the SPF is lower than others, it is generously packed with ingredients including aloe vera, jojoba and green tea which are going to be kind on young-yet-hormonal skin. 

And don’t forget to protect lips. SunSense Lip Balm SPF50+ contains added Vitamin E and cocoa butter, provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and is water-resistant for up to four hours. 

Protective Swimwear

Letting children run around freely on the beach without constantly worrying about harsh rays is one thing we don’t want to worry about on holiday, adding an easy layer of protection, alongside sunscreen of course, is UV swimwear. Some of these are made using special fibres and a dense weave to block the sun, while other UPF clothing is pre-treated with a UV-deflecting coating. Just like SPF in sunscreen, the protection number relates to how much UV the clothing filters out. A swim shirt with a UPF of 25, for example, will allow roughly four percent of UV light to pass through it so aim for 50 UPF which is the maximum protection rating possible, blocking 98% of the sun’s rays and allows only two percent to penetrate, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly.

Swimwear, including all-in-ones (ideal for babies) and rash vests, or UV tops with separate shorts, are a great way to keep kids covered up. With long sleeves, UPF 50+ and lightweight fabric, they are ideal for sunny days. Plus, they are quick drying and can be washed at 30 degrees. Look to the stylish designs from Liewood, with matching hats and accessories, and Sproet and Sprout, stocked at Bubba and Me, with fun prints your kids will love wearing. Smallable is a one-stop-shop for all your holiday must-haves and stock stylish brands like Rylee + Cru and Lison Paris. For very little ones, Jo Jo Maman Bébé  and Petit Bateau are great places to shop for swimwear. 


Kids never seem to be as bothered about wearing sunglasses as grown-ups are, so their eyes are an area that get slightly forgotten about when it comes to sun protection. However they are at just as much risk as from damage as the skin. Unlike adult eyes, children’s eyes are still maturing and cannot filter out the harmful UV rays as effectively. Overexposure to UVB radiation – even over a short period of time – such as a day at the beach, can cause photokeratitis, or ‘sunburn of the eye’. Thankfully this is all preventable by simply ensuring your kids wear sunglasses. There are so many super-cool brands to choose from such as Babiators who offer a selection of styles that are both UV and UVB protective and have durable frames that can withstand a bit of inevitable rough and tumble. Start these on babies as young as six months – the earlier you get kids used to wearing sunglasses, the better. Other brands to check out are Little DutchIzipizi, Liewood, Grech and Co and Suneez . For a really secure fit try those from JoJo Maman Bébé with a stretchy detachable strap, making them harder for little hands to pull off. They come in two sizes, zero to two years and three to six years.

Sun Hats

A small and simple item but so essential for protecting again sunburn and also heat stroke – the sun hat. A wide brim is best and ideally a hat that also has a neck cape to guard the neck and the ears, which can all too often get burnt as children spend so much time looking down on the beach as they build sandcastles. 

We love the range from exclusive hat brand Sunday Afternoons who have an amazing selection of styles that tick all the protective boxes as well as offering features like removable neck capes, water and stain proof. Alex and Alexa have a fantastic selection of hats to suit kids of all ages. Brands such as Mini a Ture are practical for a day at the beach or a sunny day sightseeing. For a special occasion in the sun, check out Lorna Murray’s gorgeous hats for little girls. Older kids and teens will love the simple but cool caps from Varsity Headwear which are unbranded and come in just about every colour imaginable.

Photo credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen


One of the best ways of avoiding sun damage is simply staying in the shade. Easier said than done once your kids are up and running, but when they are tiny it’s certainly the best option. There’s a huge range of sunshades for little ones on the market so consider what your needs will be. The Babyni Pop-up UV Tent Playpen UPF 50+ is ideal for babies with its detachable UV canopy and removable fine mesh mosquito nets, or Konges Sløjd Beach Pop Up Tent It pops up in seconds and has a carry bag, making it easily portable.  If you are on the move in the sunshine, check out Snoozeshade who have a range of products to use with your pram, buggy or car seat to make them UV safe. Or for a shade that all the family can easily sit under, opt for a super-stylish cabana from Australian beach brand Sunnylife with drawstring fabric carry bag for easy transport and storage.

Air Up Water Bottle

Aside from harmful UV damage, there are other risks from too much sun exposure, not least dehydration. To encourage your kids to drink enough water, steering them away from juices and fizzy drinks, buy them an Air Up bottle. The revolutionary design of this drinking system flavours water through scent alone, based on the fact 80% of the taste we experience actually comes from smell. Choose your pod flavour from a selection that covers everything from watermelon and orange to cola, pop it on to the specially designed bottle and enjoy water that tastes delicious but is 100% natural. One pod flavours at least 5 litres of water and you can use still or sparkling. Free from any and all allergens, Air Up is a super alternative to drinks packed with additives and sweeteners. A very clever way to ensure kids drink nothing but water without complaining.

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