Beware a spring sunburn!

29/03/2022  |   Michelle Baker

When it comes to avoiding the possibility of skin cancer in later life, preventing sunburn in childhood is key, and this is especially true in early spring, where the cooler temperatures can deceive us on the power of UV rays. 

If your children love outdoor sport, you will know the joys of getting on a sunny spring morning for a family bike ride, or to watch them train, or compete in all forms of sport, from tennis, rugby, football or maybe racing around a track! After being wrapped up for months in all forms of insulation, they will probably want take off the layers, relishing the novelty of to getting some fresh air and sun to their skin, which is perfectly natural, however they need to be careful.

What most of us do not realise is that from March the sun is as strong as early September. By the middle of April, the sun is as strong as late August.

With just one blistering sunburn doubling the risk of skin cancer (the most common and fastest type of cancer in the UK), neglecting sun protection can be gambling with their future health. The good news is that skin cancer is mostly preventable, and by simply being more aware of the risks and acting accordingly, we can reduce incidence, in everyone!

FACT: When the UV Index is 3 and over sun protection is required when outdoors. You can check this on your smart phone as it features on the weather app.
FACT: A cloudy sky does not protect us from sunburn, with almost 80% of UV rays passing through cloud cover. This means that without protection, we are all at risk of an unexpected
FACT: More cases of sunburn are reported in April than in any other month, mainly because of the rush to get out after the long cold spell of winter.

Get your family Sun-Sorted!

To support parents and sports coaches, the Melanoma Fund created the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code. A free educational resource in which sports and outdoor organisations can become Sun Protection Accredited, putting into place strategies to make sun protection a natural part of play.

The Sun-Sorted! Quiz

This is a educational resource which provides KS2 children with fun and interesting facts on the sun, their environment, and their skin. Getting the whole family to learn about the sun before summer will ensure they are prepared and will help avoid that spring sun sneaking up to catch them unaware. It is also a timely reminder for parents to ensure they are ready for summer!

Here are some further facts from the Melanoma Fund to help support everyone’s education:

  1. Encourage children to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. It is vital for creating vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles, but avoid a sunburn!
  2. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF30 or higher product on all exposed skin, even if its cloudy and remember that some vitamin D is still absorbed with the use of sunscreen.
  3. Children’s skin is delicate and can burn within minutes, so be aware that sunburn can happen anytime from March until October.
  4. The UV index tells us how strong the sun’s UV rays are. If it is 3 or above, which is common from March onward, you need to protect skin.
  5. Don’t be deceived about temperatures being lower in spring compared to summer. Getting a sunburn is not dependent on the air temperature, so it’s best to take protective measures and be prepared, even if the weather app forecasts a cool day.
  6. Getting children to understand why they should sun protect their skin will ensure they take responsibility, however, remember to lead by example and apply it yourself!
  7. Remember that a rainy day can turn into a scorcher, so when leaving the house, be sun prepared with a small sun-protection kit, containing sunscreen, hats and sunglasses to ensure you don’t need to buy twice.

Take the Sun-Sorted! quiz by visiting For further facts on protection children from the sun visit the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code at