Keeping Our Children Safe in the Sun
As a parent, part of our job is to constantly worry about the safety of our children. Are they eating the right foods, getting enough exercise, are they on target with their developmental milestones… oh, there is so much to worry about! How about we put one of those worries to bed now with some important information to help get you through the summer! How do we choose the right sunscreen for our child? After reading the information below, you will be able to make an informed decision that is best for your child. Yay… one less thing to worry about.
How do I prevent sunburn?
Of course, the best way to prevent sunburn is to stay out of the sun, but how realistic is that? Besides, being out in the sun safely, is good for us. Try to limit your time in the sun when it’s at its peak hours, 10:00am-4:00pm. The next best option is to wear protective clothing which covers the majority of the skin. Who wears pants and long sleeves during the summer in the heat? So, that brings us to a good sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreen.
- Organic: which absorbs UV radiation and converts it to a small amount of heat. Examples include cinnamates, salicylates and benzophenones.
- Inorganic: which reflects and scatters UV radiation. Examples include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Inorganic sunscreens are typically less irritating to skin. Good to know for use on children!
There are also sunscreens that contain insect repellent and you may think you are getting a great two for one, but the science doesn’t back it up. Sunscreen needs to be applied generously and often. Insect repellant should be used sparingly and less frequently.
Types of Applications
- Creams: good for dry skin.
- Lotions: preferred for application on large areas.
- Gel: for scalps with thin to no hair.
- Stick: useful for around the eyes.
- Spray: easy to apply on children. Use a generous and even coating. Don’t spray around the face and if spraying outside, make note of which way the wind is blowing. So as to not blow it back in the child’s face.
Other important notables
- An SPF of 30+ is best. A higher SPF does not necessarily give you more protection. Sunscreens with SPFs greater than 50 provide only a small increase in UV protection. High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs.
- If you are going to be in the water, remember to reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes to stay safe. Use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreen typically lasts up to 40 minutes in the water. It still must be reapplied.
- Do NOT use sunscreen on an infant birth to six months. It is best to just keep them out of the sun. Babies have super sensitive skin and the best option is to avoid direct sunlight. Keep them under a sun umbrella, under the hood of a stroller, or some type of canopy for protection.
- Use sunscreen year-round. Some believe you can only get sunburned in the summer, that is false. Also, don’t let the clouds fool you! The UV rays are still present on a cloudy day.
- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside.
- Stay out of direct sunlight whenever possible.
The top 10 sunscreens for children 6 months and up
- Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby SPF 50
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
- Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF 50 Resisto Swim Kids Spray
- Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free Sting-Free Lotion Spray Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen Spf 50+ Water Resistant
- La Roche-Posay Anthélios Dermo-Pediatrics Spray SPF50+
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70+
- Aloe Gator Sun Care Lil Gator Continuous Spray SPF 50
Summing it up
Now we know to not use sunscreen on infants less than six months old, not to use any sunscreen with less than an SPF of 30, reapply every 30-minutes, use water-resistant when going into the water, and choose the right application that is best for you and your child.
Author: Belinda Davis ©2019