Sunscreen 101: For your kid's safety

My family will tell you that I'm usually the last one to worry about a silly thing like putting sunscreen on when heading to the beach. I always used to hate slathering on the white stuff. I preferred to just lay out on the beach and tan. But as I'm getting older, I am coming to realize that this kind of attitude is really, really bad. Not only am I putting myself at risk of skin cancer, but it's bad for the rest of my family, too. Not using sunscreen is especially bad for the kids, whose skin is more sensitive than ours. Are you protecting your family from the sun correctly? Here are some tips on making sure to use a child-friendly sunscreen.


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1. When and where to apply: You need to apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside. And yes, you MUST reapply every 2 hours! Actually, if your kid (and you) goes swimming, then you may need to reapply sooner. Apply it evenly everyone and DO NOT forget these sports: back of knees, ears, eye area, neck and even the scalp.

2. How to pick a good sunscreen: The Child Health Advocacy Institute of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., recommends this: "choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, because the compounds are less irritating than others and do not get absorbed into the skin."

3. Cover up, no matter what: Although you should wear sunscreen from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest, nothing helps as much as clothing. If you're not at the beach,  make sure everyone is dressed appropriately and wears a hat with a wide brim to cast a shadow on your kid's face. Sunglasses are also a must, even for the kids.

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Do you regularly wear sunscreen? Do you make sure that your kids are well covered-up? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via kakachu/flickr

Topics: sun safety