Is there a safe way to tan? Sadly, no. It is important to avoid sun burn. Sun burns as a child can lead to skin cancer later in life. UV light damages the DNA of our skin cells which leads to cancer formation. Sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin. No one wants wrinkles!
Wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen on exposed skin. Remember to reapply soon after going into the water and after every couple of hours. There are lasers that can improve the look of sundamaged skin, but prevention of skin damage at a young age can help later in life!