Kids sunburn this summer? Protect your kids by knowing your sunscreen

Worried about the summer sun? Protect your kids this summer by knowing the right type of sunscreen to buy and how much to use

In the 1990’s, tanning beds were THE thing to do. For many of the current 40 somethings, wrinkly, dry, leathery skin was light years away and the idea of using sunblock was laughable. If you weren’t into tanning beds, you’d hit the beach. Laying out on the beach with the scent of coconut oil wafting in the air,  you’d see people lined up for miles essentially cooking like a turkey basting in the oven.

Many of these sun-worshipers are parents now, and can’t imagine sending their children out to fry in the sun. And with good reason. Research has indicated that over exposure to the sun results in an increase in skin cancers and melanoma. Instead of covering ourselves in what is essentially vegetable oil, we pull out the floppy hats and sunscreen before we hit the beach.

The F.D.A recently announced new rules and regulations to govern the use and marketing of sunscreen, and that is good news for parents who are trying to protect their kids from harmful UV rays.

What does sunscreen protect against?

With the new regulations in place, the F.D.A has mandated that sunscreen must protect against both UVB (results in burning, itching from sun poisoning, and can cause cancer.) and UVA (causes you to wrinkle up like a Shar Pei long before its your turn to wrinkle, as well as causing cancer). When the sunscreen you use states that it is ‘broad spectrum’ it will protect against both UVA and UVB.

There is no such thing as sweatproof or waterproof sunscreen. Some types can be water resistant, but only for a certain amount of time. You should always put sunscreen on your children at least 45 minutes before you take them outside.

What type of sunscreen should I use on my kid?

Using common sense, you know that a SPF of 2 isn’t going to do much to protect you or your children from the sun. Most baby and child geared sunscreen is labeled at SPF 50, so it is a safe bet to use a broad spectrum product of SPF 50 for your kids this summer.

How much sunscreen should I put on my child?

Use a trowel.

No really, you don’t have to put it on that thick, but studies have shown that most consumers do not put it on as much sunscreen as they should. Read the back of the bottle for advice or instructions, and when in doubt, add a little more and be sure that they are covered.

Other ways that I can protect my child from sunburn?

Summer is for sunshine and beach time, so its not easy to keep your kids protected from harmful UVB and UVA. If you plan on a full day in the sun, be sure to try a few of these tips:

  • Buy your kids a rashguard swimshirt with a UPF protection rating of 50. You can buy them at Old Navy or most department stores
  • Stay out of the sun after 11 am and don’t go back in until 2 pm. If you can’t stay out of the sun, get an umbrella or a portable hut and put it up.
  • Be sure you kids have a hat on at all time
  • Don’t be fooled by clouds. Your child can still turn as bright as a lobster after playing all day when its cloudy

Summer is finally here, and although we certainly have more to worry about than our parents generation (I’m pretty sure I spent entire summers outside while my mom watched soap operas), we also have more resources to protect our kids. Use common sense, and when in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.





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