Boots has been ordered to withdraw an eerie and surreal television advertisement for a sun cream which showed tanned young children sunbathing.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the high street chain's commercial for Soltan exaggerated the product's power to protect children's skin and could put them at risk.

The advert showed children mimicking sun worshipping adults, silently sunbathing on a beach rather than running around and playing.

A voiceover said: If you knew that more than half the annual exposure your child receives could happen during their summer holidays, you'd protect them with Boots' Soltan.

Nine people complained to the ASA, saying children should cover up in the sun or stay in the shade instead of relying on sun cream.

The watchdog upheld the complaints and ordered Boots to withdraw the commercial.

The ad suggested that Soltan offered children full protection from the sun's harmful effects, the ASA said. It gave a misleading impression of the capabilities and performance of the advertised product and could lead to harm to children's health.

Boots said the advert was intended to provoke debate and to educate people about the dangers of the sun.

It portrayed an unnatural, unrealistic scene to shock viewers into facing up to the risks.