Sunscreen 101: Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer
Summer is just around the corner. So, it’s time to stock up on sunscreen for those pool parties and beach trips.
To help prevent sunburn (and to some degree, skin cancer), find a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 – the higher the number, the better. Look for one that screens out both UVA and UVB rays. Also, pick one that has a 3 or 4 rating in the new UVA star rating system.
When applying, make sure to cover sensitive areas the best: the nose, ears, cheeks and shoulders. Sunscreen sticks work well for the face. Don’t forget to cover those areas that may get more sun than you think such as the feet and areas under swimsuit straps.
Whether lotion or spray, it’s important to rub in the sunscreen and then let it sit for about 20 minutes before the child gets into the sun or water. Re-apply often if the child is getting wet.
Do not trust sunscreen alone to protect an infant. Babies will burn very easily even in shade. With infants especially, it is best to avoid the hours between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.
Use light, cool clothing and hats to provide extra protection. If children balk about putting on their sunscreen, simply tell them that they cannot go out without it, and wait for them to be compliant.
It’s best to be very consistent with this rule to minimize arguing.
Dr. Ashley Lucas is a pediatrician with the Our Lady of the Lake Physician’s Group.