What your child wears can significantly reduce his risk of sunburn. According to the AAD, a typical white t-shirt has an SPF of only 3—not nearly enough protection to avoid sun damage. Your child is better off wearing a dark, tightly-woven shirt. If you'd like to boost the sun protection properties of your family's clothing, colorless dyes are available that increase the clothing's SPF to 30.
Parents can also buy specialized solar-protective clothing that maximizes UV protection. These clothes can be more costly, but they may be especially worth it for families frequently outdoors during peak hours. The fabric is generally lightweight and breathable, quick-drying, and doesn't need to be reapplied like lotion. "I have been recommending sun protection swimwear," says Dr. Sherwood, "or parents can get a regular swimsuit that has a rash guard (surf shirt). You can find most surfer shirts or UV swimsuits at beachwear shops that cater to children or on the Internet."
Lastly, don't forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for your child when he or she is outdoors.
"There is evidence that increased exposure to sunlight increases the development of cataracts and may play a role in macular degeneration," says Dr. Michael Redmond, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist and spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). "There is greater risk to the eye the more [sun] exposure you have. It's a good idea to avoid sun in the eyes, and if it's a family that's outside a lot and has a high incidence of exposure to the sun, it's especially good to provide UV protection to the eyes."
Dr. Redmond says families that live in sunnier climates or spend a lot of time outdoors, especially on the snow or water (which reflect sun's rays), should be even more sensitive to protecting their children's eyes. He says that when choosing sunglasses, it is less important to look at the shade of the lens and instead focus on the UV protection, which is available even in clear lenses. The AAO and the AAP recommend sunglasses labeled to block 99 to 100 percent of all UV light. For children who refuse to wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat will help reduce sun exposure for the eyes.