School’s out and sunny days are ahead!! While playing and spending time outside is wonderful, it is important to be safe and protect your child’s skin.
We get about 50% of our lifetime sun exposure during childhood and adolescence.
UV radiation from the sun causes sunburns, eye damage, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US and numbers continue to rise. In 2021, there will be over 100,000 people diagnosed with melanoma and over 7,000 deaths.
Tips for reducing the risk of sun exposure:
- Babies under 6 months should not be in direct sunlight. Seek shade under umbrellas, stroller canopies, or trees when outside.
- Limit sun exposure between 10 am – 4 pm, when UV rays are strongest.
- Use a highly rated, FDA approved sunscreen.
- Wear a hat with a broad all-around brim to shade your child’s face and back of their neck.
- Dress in lightweight, long-sleeve clothing with a tight weave to cover exposed skin areas.
- Wear sunglasses that are labeled to protect at least 99% of UV radiation. Look for youth sizes to ensure a proper fit.
- Be a good role model for your child and protect yourself from sun exposure.
Sunscreens should be used as part of your sun protection routine. They are not meant to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB radiation.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ (up to 50). There is no data that SPF > 50 offers additional protection. Learn more about SPF.
- Sunscreen may be used on babies < 6 months in small amounts on exposed areas (such as the face) when remaining in the shade is not possible.
- Not all sunscreens contain ingredients that have been demonstrated to be safe for people, especially kids. It is important to carefully select sunscreen products.
- Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are considered safe and effective.
- Sunscreens with oxybenzone (currently in ~40% of products sold) should be avoided whenever possible due to potential hormone disruption.
- Spray sunscreens may not coat the skin to provide adequate protection and pose inhalation risks. Spray sunscreens should be avoided whenever possible.
EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens is an excellent and reliable resource for choosing the safest and most effective products.
Call us if:
- Your baby is younger than 1 year and gets sunburn
- For older children, if there is blistering, pain, or fever.
Ways to relieve discomfort from mild sunburn:
- Give your child water maintain hydration.
- Use cool compresses to soothe your child’s skin.
- Give your child over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. (For a baby 2-6 months, give acetaminophen only. For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen.)
- Keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.