The summer is here, and that means Canadians from coast to coast are looking forward to sunny days and highs in the twenties and thirties. While we doubt there are any Canadians who aren’t ready for a couple months of warm weather, summer does come with some important things to keep in mind.

No Sun for Babies. Babies under 6 months shouldn’t be getting any direct sunshine. Their skin is much thinner than the skin of adults or older children, so they burn very easily. Many young toddlers and babies are also sensitive to sun screens, and they may have a reaction. We recommend keep your baby in the shade at all times instead of using sunscreen until they’re at least 6 months old. Once they’re a little older, your baby can spend time in the sun. But they should still avoid sun during the peak UV hours between 10AM and 2PM. Before putting your baby in the sun, they’ll need to wear a liberal amount of sunscreen. We suggest dabbing some of your chosen sunscreen on their back a few days before you’re planning an outing. That way you can ensure they aren’t allergic to your sunscreen before you put it anywhere near their face or hands.

SPF 30 is the recommended sunscreen protection. In general, research about sunscreens that claim to provide more protection than SPF 30 are mixed. They aren’t worse for your skin than SPF 30, but it’s doubtful that they provide significant benefits beyond what SPF 30 does, so you may be spending more money for nothing.

Broad Spectrum sunscreens will include both UVA and UVB protection. It’s important that any sunscreen you’re considering is broad spectrum. Protection from one type of UV light and not the other won’t do your skin much good.

Waterproof. Sweat and sprinklers are just a part of summer in Canada. If you want to ensure your family stays protected all day long, it’s important to make sure the sunscreen you have is waterproof. Consult the bottle for how often to reapply sunscreen, but keep in mind that almost all sunscreens should be reapplied after swimming or playing in the water even if they are waterproof.

What About Vitamin D? Of course, vitamin D is important, but it’s actually very easy to reach the necessary dose. Just 20 minutes in the sun on a day with a UV index of 3-5 is plenty. When the UV index is higher, you’ll need even less time, and you’ll begin to burn faster.

Here at Health Risk, we hope that all Canadians will be able to get outside and enjoy the sun this summer! But remember to do so safely. If you have any questions about keeping safe and feeling your best, Health Risk can help answer your questions and offer you the necessary health coverage to talk with your local experts and get the health information you need.