Summertime means more time outdoors having fun! The children are home from school and your family is probably enjoying the beach, pool, and playground. We love to see families outside getting exercise and enjoying themselves. There’s a lot of information out there about sunscreens, and it can get confusing what’s best for your family. I want to share some advice on how to keep your kids safe under the hot Sarasota sun.
Who needs sunscreen anyway?
There is a common misconception that people with darker skin don’t need to use sunscreen at all. Literally EVERYONE needs sunscreen, regardless of your skin tone. Yes, people with pale skin and freckles will burn more easily, but everyone can get a sunburn. Overexposure to the sun is most damaging to kids under the age of 18, so keep them covered.
Another misconception is that a good tan will keep you from getting a sunburn. Any time that your skin turns color due to the sun, that means that there is damage to the DNA in your skin cells. This can lead to skin cancer. 90% of skin cancer is due to UV radiation. Base-tans will not protect your child from skin damage. Keeping your children out of the sun, wearing sunscreen, and the correct clothing will protect them!
We tell our Good Pediatric’s parents the best thing they can do is start having their children wear swim shirts and hats young. They will get used to wearing them and it will make your life a lot easier when they are older and running around, chasing them with sunblock!
O.K. – We need sunscreen! But what TYPE of sunscreen?
There are so many different kinds of sunscreens out there it’s easy to get confused. Organic? Mineral? Conventional? Keep your children covered with lightweight clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses as much as possible. Start them young and they will get used to them!
- Avoid outside exposure during the sun’s strongest times (10 am to 4 pm)
- Pick a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB ray or broad spectrum and absorbs into the skin.
- Use a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen.
- Make sure it has an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of between 30-50.
- Apply at least 30 minutes before going outside, and then reapply at least every 90 minutes.
- Sprays are more convenient but don’t cover evenly and there’s always the chance of inhalation.
- Please keep babies out of the sun and dress them in lightweight clothing that covers their skin. If that’s not possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as their face and hands.
With a little planning, there is every reason for you and your family to enjoy time outside in beautiful Sarasota. Have Fun!
Dr. Virginia Good is a Board-Certified Pediatrician who cares for children at her practice, Good Pediatrics. Together with her staff, Dr. Good is dedicated to the well-being of her patients and their families. Find out more about Good Pediatrics at www.goodpediatrics.com or by calling (941) 955-7337.