Childminder Guides > Early Years Safety Blog > Sun Safety for Children

Sun Safety for Children

Keeping Children Safe

Are you a sun safe early years setting? Early years practitioners have a duty of care to keep children safe and healthy.


Documentation: there is no requirement to have a written sun cream policy. However, it is important to explain the provision’s sun cream policy to parents.


Protection: ask for written ongoing permission from parents to apply sun cream – if permission is not received, share information about the importance with parents and discuss whether you will be able to continue caring for their child and –

  • Wash hands between applications of cream to different children to prevent cross contamination.
  • Reapply sun cream every 2 hours throughout the day – inform parents when it’s been applied.
  • Apply cream after water play to any areas of the skin that are wet.
  • Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day – usually between 11am and 3pm.
  • Set out toys under a canopy or shade – move umbrellas round as the sun travels through the day. If you do not have natural shade in the garden, how do you provide it to keep children cooler?
  • Keep an eye on pollen levels – do parents need to give their child an antihistamine in the morning?
  • Provide spare sun hats if parents forget, for the children to wear when UV is 3+.
  • If you ask parents to supply sun cream, how will you transport multiple bottles of cream on outings?


Education: talk to the children in age and stage appropriate ways about the dangers of playing outside in the hot sun and –

  • Check the UV index using a weather app – the children can do this with you.
  • Teach children to be independent when applying cream – but always check they have covered all their exposed skin.
  • Ensure fresh drinking water is available and accessible for children and talk to them about the importance of regular drinking – allow independent access where possible. Talk to the children about the importance of taking regular water breaks and be a good role model.
  • What will you do if a child throws his hat – repeatedly? How will you ensure he is safe in the sun? How will you teach him the importance of wearing a hat? Remind the children – no hat = play indoors.
  • Childminders / staff set a good example – wear your hat and model drinking more water. How do you ensure you and children keep drinking when everyone is engrossed in their games?



  • Display a sun safe poster – slip, slap, slop or similar. Bear in mind that posters become wallpaper and regularly update it with different groups of children.
  • Use the weather as a learning opportunity - weather apps or weather stations in the garden can provide useful information about the temperature outside and can be used alongside the children to teach them about sun safety.


Collaboration: ask parents to put sun cream on their child before dropping them off – this gives it time to soak in and start working – and –

  • Inform parents about your sun safe policy. you might find it useful to provide them with a link to the Cancer Research Sun Smart website -

  • Ask parents to provide a new bottle of labelled sun cream to keep in the setting – SPF 30 / 50 and 5* UVA and UVB protection.  You will need to ask for a new bottle every year because of expiry dates. Explain what will happen if parents fail to bring their own cream.
  • Talk to parents about how will you support a child who doesn’t want you to apply sun cream – will you ring parents to come and do it or keep them inside?
  • Explain to parents why you need their child to arrive in an appropriate sun hat and suitable clothes.
  • Ask parents to support a ‘no hat = play indoors’ message.
  • Use your normal communication channels with parents to share information about how to avoid skin cancer, remind them about putting on cream in the morning and providing a hat / suitable clothes etc.


Review the policy: review the effectiveness of your policy regularly –

  • Are staff setting a good sun safe example to the children?
  • Do the children understand the dangers of playing in the hot sun?
  • Are shaded spaces provided outside every day?
  • Are parents engaging with the policy?


In case of accidents: if a child’s skin is not covered by sun cream and a hat and burns you need to discuss your procedures with parents.  Burns can cause long-term damage including skin cancer in later life so accidental sun burn must be treated with care. As with all accidents, reporting procedures must be followed – parents should be asked to sign a record form and advised to seek medical advice for their child and reports should be made to Ofsted and insurance in the case of serious accidental burning.


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