Canada Sun Guide

Outdoor physical activity can be healthy, fun and safe if you remain protected. Follow the Canada Sun Guide, created by Canada Safety Council and other partners, to help Canadians combine sun safety with outdoor activities.

Minimize Sun Exposure

  • Schedule outdoor physical activities when UV rays are at their weakest – before 11:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., especially between the months of April and October.
  • Always keep children under the age of one out of the sun.
  • Remember that skin doesn’t have to be hot to burn, so don’t be fooled by cloudy or overcast weather.
  • Remember too that water, snow, sand and concrete can reflect and increase the sun’s burning rays.

Seek and Create Shade

  • Seek natural shade from trees and buildings.
  • Plant trees in schoolyards and other play areas.
  • Use shade umbrellas, or create other forms of shade if natural shade is not possible.
  • Keep playpens, strollers and carriages in shaded areas.

Cover Up

  • Cover children’s heads, necks and ears with a broad brimmed hat when outdoors.
  • Protect arms and legs with tightly woven, loose fitting, cotton clothing.
  • Children should wear a T-shirt over their bathing suit, and long shorts instead of short shorts.
  • Wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses—children can wear them too.

Use Sunscreen

  • Have children use a broad spectrum sunscreen (protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 15 or more.
  • Apply sunscreen generously before all outdoor physical activities such as swimming, skateboarding, biking or even walking. Remember to apply at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply often, as perspiration will reduce the effectiveness.

Pay attention to the UV Index – a measure of the strength of the sun’s burning ultraviolet rays. The higher the number, the stronger the sun will be. UV rays usually reach their peak around noon, so minimize exposure to the sun in the middle of the day. When you are outside, stay in the shade, and make it a habit to wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and protective sunglasses.