Summertime means lots of fun in the sun and it can be easy to get caught up in what’s going on and simply forget to put on sunscreen. Taking a few extra minutes for this important step however, will help you and your kids avoid a painful sunburn.
“Even on a cloudy day you can develop a sunburn,” says Melissa King, DO, medical director of Dayton Children’s urgent care and Dr. Mom Squad blogger. “Most kids get much of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18, so it’s important for us as parents to teach them how to enjoy fun in the sun safely.”
Here are five important sunscreen tips to remember:
1. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher
A sunscreen at this level ensures the prevention of sunburn and tanning, which are both signs of skin damage. If you’re planning to be around water, be sure to purchase a water-resistant sunscreen. Also make certain that the sunscreen you choose protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
2. Use lotion instead of spray
While a spray is convenient and quick, it has multiple disadvantages to a lotion. A spray is easy to inhale and can irritate the lungs. Some sprays are flammable. Sprays also make it harder to tell if you have applied enough sunscreen, resulting in a higher risk of sunburn.
3. Avoid putting sunscreen on babies under six months
Babies under six months should be kept out of the sun. When taking your baby outside, dress her in light weight clothes, covering her arms and legs, and don’t forget a hat! If you’re unable to avoid the sun, apply only a small amount of sunscreen to your baby’s exposed skin.
4. Make sure you’re applying the right amount
For the best results, apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to being outside. Don’t forget toes, hands, feet, ears and behind the neck. You can even apply an SPF 30 to lips. Dermatologists recommend using one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to cover exposed skin. Also be sure to reapply sunscreen often, about every two hours, especially if your child has been swimming or sweating.
5. Everyone should wear sunscreen
No matter what your child’s skin tone is, they need protection from the sun. Check the expiration date of your sunscreen bottle and don’t use a bottle you’ve had for longer than three years.
Have fun – and be safe – by remembering these simple sunscreen tips this summer!