Parents who repeatedly don't apply sunscreen on their children in the hot summer sun have been accused of child abuse by a top doctor.

Australian Medical Association NSW President Dr Brad Frankum said not applying sunscreen to your child could have deadly consequences, and has put parents on notice as the weather in both Australia and New Zealand reaches new highs.

"Is it negligence? If a child burns themselves by tipping boiling water over themselves… I don't see severe sunburn is any different," Prof Frankum told the Daily Telegraph.

"If it happens repeatedly then that would be quite abusive really. It's no different to burning your kid with something else."

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However, Surgeon Fina Wood told the Daily Telegraph that the majority of parents caught out were guilty of "forgetfulness" rather than "intentional neglect".

She warned parents are getting caught out, believing that "putting your baby under a tree thinking your baby is in the shade is not adequate."

Top doctors have likened parents who let their children get sunburnt to child abusers. Photo / 123rf
Top doctors have likened parents who let their children get sunburnt to child abusers. Photo / 123rf

Under New Zealand's extreme UV levels, all it takes is 10 minutes to get burnt.

Prof Frankum warned parents who believed getting a tan was good for their child's skin needed to be re-educated about the dangers of the sun and skin damage.

The best solution to staying safe in the sun was still to slip, slop, slap and wrap, Cancer Council Heather Walker said.

Parents are also being encouraged to make sure their children wear sunglasses when in the sun.

Sun damage can cause serious conditions like cataracts and eye cancer later in life.