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NHS warns parents to protect their children in the sun

13th July 2016 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

It’s all too easy to get carried away when the sun is out and you’re enjoying time with your child.  But your child can easily burn if you don’t get it right.  So, health professionals from Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG and West Leicestershire CCG are warning parents about the dangers of sun burn and what they can do to protect their child during the summer months.

We know that a moderate amount of sun is good for us.  It provides essential vitamin D, which we need for good health.  It improves our mood and also helps to promote better sleep – a fantastic combination if you have small children to entertain!

But too much sun can be damaging, so protecting your child not only prevents them from painful sunburn but also significantly reduces their risk of skin cancer later in life.

Dr Avi Prasad, GP lead for Urgent Care, speaking on behalf of the three local CCGs said: “The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm, so it’s important to try and keep children in the shade during this time.  Even if it’s cloudy or overcast they can still burn.

“Apply a sunscreen every couple of hours to help protect their skin, especially if they are in and out of water.  Even waterproof sunscreen can wash off and the cooling effect of the water can mask the feeling of getting burned.

“Be especially careful to protect your child’s shoulders and the back of their necks while they are playing.  And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to delicate areas, such as shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of feet. These are the most common areas to get burned.”

A sun screen with a protection factor [SPF] of 50 gives the best protection, along with protective clothing, such as a floppy hat with a wide brim to help shade their face and neck, and an oversized t-shirt with sleeves to protect their back and shoulders.

And don’t forget good quality sunglasses!  These should meet British Standards (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the “CE” mark.

Dr Prasad added: “To treat minor sunburn it’s best to sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply soothing after sun or calamine lotion. Your local pharmacy can advise on over-the-counter treatment to help ease symptoms and reduce inflammation.”

If your child feels unwell or their skin swells badly or blisters, visit your local NHS walk in centre or urgent care centre, one of the city’ s health hubs, or call NHS 111, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It’s simple to use, just dial 111 and you’ll be put through to someone who can tell where you can go for help.

For interviews or more information please contact Liz Mattock, Communications Officer on 0116 295 4159 or liz.mattock@leicestercityccg.nhs.uk

 Notes to editors:

Since the late 1970s, malignant melanoma rates have more than quadrupled (360% increase) in Great Britain. The increase is larger in males where rates have increased more six-fold (544% increase), than in females where rates have more than tripled (263% increase). http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/skin-cancer#heading-Zero

With effect from 1st July 2016, the opening times for Leicester City Health Hubs are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday 18:30 to 22:00
  • Weekends and Bank Holidays: 12:00 to 20:00
Healthcare Hub Address
Willows Medical Centre 184 Coleman Road, Leicester, LE5 4LJ.
Westcotes Health Centre Fosse Road South, Leicester, LE3 0LP.
Belgrave Health Centre 52 Brandon Street, Leicester, LE4 6AW.
Saffron Surgery 612 Saffron Lane, Leicester, LE2 6TD.


Clinical commissioning groups are groups of GP practices which are responsible for commissioning most hospital and community health services for people living in their areas. Under the Health and Social Care Act, every GP practice is a member of a CCG. CCGs are responsible collectively annually for approximately £60-£65 billion of the NHS budget.




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