Summer Sun Protection for Your Child

For those of you in the midwest or any other region that was plagued by a late winter, the sunshine probably beckons to you with all its warmth and glory. It’s all too easy to grab the kids and rush out the door for a few moments of heat, but we have to remember that as much as the sun seems like our friend, it can also be dangerous (especially for the soft and supple skin of little babies). Here are a few sunscreen tips to keep in mind before you swing open the doors and embrace the summer air.

  • It takes 20-30 minutes for sunscreen to kick into full gear. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes outside instead of when they are heading out the door.
  • It’s easy to forget to put on sunscreen — especially when kids are excited to jump in the pool or run in the yard. Make sunscreen application part of your child’s daily routine when they are getting dressed so you don’t forget.
  • Be generous when applying sunscreen and don’t forget the easy-to-miss places (ears, tops of the feet, back of the neck, etc.).
  • Create a game of applying sunscreen. Make up a silly song about sunscreen and have your child wiggle his/her toes when you are applying on their feet. Or have them spin around so you get 360 degrees of coverage. It will be like your very own sunscreen hokey pokey!
  • Don’t be afraid to try different sunscreens. Some kids prefer the spray sunscreen, others like the lotion or gel. See what works best for your little one and their skin types.
  • Choose a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
  •  Have shade time where your child takes a 10 – 30-minute break under a tree or umbrella so he/she isn’t in the sun continuously.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours if your child is in the water or sweating (even the “waterproof” sunscreens can rub off within a few hours).
  • Check with your doctor first before applying sunscreen to your baby or child with sensitive skin.
  • Kids learn by imitation. Be sure to always put sunscreen on yourself and your child will pick up on your healthy habits!