Simple Rules to Protect your Family from Sunburns
- Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy, and know that these coverings do not protect completely from exposure to UVA/UVB rays.
- When possible, dress yourself and your children in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, such as lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
- Select clothes made with a tight weave; they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better. Or you can look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
- Wear a hat with an all-around 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears, and back of the neck.
- Limit the amount of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.
- Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Look for child-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child.
- Use sunscreen.
How to Pick 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 a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 (up to SPF 50). An SPF of 15 or 30 should be fine for most people. More research studies are needed to test if sunscreen with more than SPF 50 offers any extra protection.
- If possible, avoid the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties.
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and even backs of the knees. Apply 15-30 minutes before going outdoors to give it time to absorb.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours
Sunscreen for Babies
- For babies younger than 6 months: Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
- For babies older than 6 months: Apply to all areas of the body but be careful around the eyes.
Choosing an Insect Repellent for Your Child
NOTE: The following types of products are not effective repellents:
- Wristbands soaked in chemical repellents
- Garlic or vitamin B1 taken by mouth
- Ultrasonic devices that give off sound waves designed to keep insects away
- Bird or bat houses
- Backyard bug zappers (Insects may actually be attracted to your yard).
The AAP recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months.
Tips for Applying
- Read the label and follow all directions and precautions.
- Only apply insect repellents on the outside of your child’s clothing and on exposed skin. Note: Permethrin-containing products should not be applied to the skin.
- Spray repellents in open areas to avoid breathing them in or spray them into your hands and rub them into the child’s exposed skin.
- Use just enough repellent to cover your child’s clothing and exposed skin. Using more doesn’t make the repellent more effective. Avoid reapplying unless needed.
- Never apply insect repellent to children younger than 2 months.
- Never spray insect repellent directly onto your child’s face. Instead, spray a little on your hands first and then rub it on your child’s face. Avoid the eyes and mouth.
- Do not spray insect repellent on cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Do not use products that combine DEET with sunscreen. The DEET may make the sun protection factor (SPF) less effective. These products can overexpose your child to DEET because the sunscreen needs to be reapplied often.