Parent Information

Sunscreen

The Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse the use of sunscreens and feel that they are an important part of a total sun protection program that also includes sun avoidance and sun protective clothing.  We now know that exposure to the sun is bad for children's health, leading to sunburn, premature skin aging, cataracts, and skin cancer.

Tips for sun protection:

  • Keep infants out of the sun.
  • Cover your baby with a long shirt and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Place your baby under a sun umbrella at the beach.
  • For kids over six months, select a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and UVA/UVB protection.  An SPF of 15 allows only 1/15 (7%) of the sun's rays to get through and therefore extends safe sun exposure from 20 minutes to 5 hours.  A higher SPF is rarely needed because sun exposure beyond 5 hours is unusual.  Most sunscreens need to be reapplied in 3 to 4 hours as well as immediately after swimming or profuse sweating.  "Waterproof" sunscreens generally stay on for 30 minutes in water.
  • For infants under six months, the safety of sunscreens have not been extensively studied.  We recommend keeping your child out of the sun as much as possible, but if a sunscreen is necessary, use one that contains titanium dioxide and is PABA free.
  • Protect your child's eyes to lower the risk of developing cataracts when older.  Buy sunglasses with 99% to 100% of UVA/UVB protection.

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