School is out which means summertime is here! As your kiddos jump for joy and you are getting your summer plans set, I am sure that time outside whether for swimming, sports, or just having fun in the sprinklers is on the agenda. One of the most important things to remember to pack in your bag for the summer is sunscreen, so here is what you need to know about sunscreens as well as some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when it comes to protecting your little one’s skin this summer.
- Look for sunscreen that is labeled as “broad spectrum.” This means it will provide protection against both UVA (these cause aging of the skin) and UVB (these cause burning of the skin) rays from the sun.
- Sunscreen needs Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Going higher than SPF 50 probably doesn’t give you much more protection so don’t worry about spending extra money for sunscreens with SPF higher than 50.
- Everyone six months and older needs sunscreen. Babies under six months of age ideally should be kept out of the direct sun. If sun exposure is absolutely unavoidable in this age group, a small amount of sunscreen is ok.
- Make sure to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outside. Applying sunscreen and then jumping right into the pool means that the sunscreen is just going to come right off.
- You need lots of sunscreen when you apply! Typically 1 teaspoon per body part should give you good coverage. That means about 1 ounce of sunscreen for the kiddos each time you apply.
- Speaking of application of sunscreen, make sure you do this often…at least every two hours.
- If your child has more sensitive skin, look for sunscreens that are mineral based. The ingredients will be either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Some brands include Blue Lizard, CeraVe, Babyganics or Vanicream.
- Sunscreens do expire (I know I am guilty of pulling out a bottle of sunscreen from the bottom of last year’s beach bag) so make sure and check the date on your bottle of sunscreen before lathering up.
- Clothing including swimsuits and rash guards often has UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) which can also help to block the sun’s rays. And don’t forget that wide brimmed hat to protect the delicate scalp especially in young children.
Hopefully with these tips, you can spend your summer splashing in the pool with your kids and enjoying the sounds of your children celebrating summer rather than drying up tears because of pesky and painful sunburn. For more information on sun safety, contact the Baton Rouge Clinic Pediatricians.