General Sun Safety
- It is best to limit sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when UV rays are strongest.
- When kids are outdoors at the hottest time of day, ensure they take frequent breaks in the shade.
- Good clothing options include lightweight material, long sleeves and pants, and a brimmed hat to cover the neck.
- Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection.
Choosing a Sunscreen
- Use a sunscreen that says broad-spectrum on the label.
- That means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Types of Sunscreen
- Chemical sunscreens work by creating a chemical by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.
- They are often referred to as chemical or organic absorbers.
- Look for the active ingredients of oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone.
- If possible, avoid the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties.
- However, using any sunscreen is better than not using sunscreen at all.
- Mineral-based sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays.
- They are often referred to as physical blockers.
- Look for the active ingredients of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
- Mineral-based sunscreens are often preferred for children for several reasons.
- Naturally broad spectrum—offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Mineral-based sunscreens protect from the sun as soon as applied.
- You do not have to wait 15-20 minutes as is needed for chemical sunscreens.
- Mineral-based sunscreens are less likely to irritate the skin, making it better for sensitive skin like baby skin.
- Apply generously!
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and even the backs of the knees.
- Rub it in well (spray sunscreen included).
- Put chemical sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.
- It needs time to absorb into the skin.
- Mineral sunscreen is effective immediately after application.
- Use sunscreen any time you or your child spend time outdoors.
- Remember that you can get sunburned even on cloudy days because up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can get through the clouds.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel.
Sunscreen and Sun Safety for Babies
- We try to avoid direct sunlight on the skin for babies younger than 6 months of age.
- Keep babies in shaded areas whenever possible.
- If there are areas of skin that the sun still touches directly you should use sunscreen (at least 15 SPF) even for babies under 6 months old.
- Remember to cover all exposed areas of a baby's skin, including the face, back of the hands, back of the neck, tips of the ears, and tops of the feet.