There are many sunscreens available for safe use in children over six months old. Pick one that offers UVA and UVB protection and that has a SPF of 15 or higher (especially if your child has light skin). Apply the sunscreen in a thick coat at least 30-45 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours (or more often in he is swimming or perspiring heavily).
Here are some other tips to protect your child from the damaging effects of the sun.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat and long sleeve shirt and long pants. Keep in mind that most clothing only has a SPF of 5-9, so you can still get sun damage with a shirt on.
- Limit exposure to the sun when it is at its strongest (10am-4pm).
- Protect your child's eyes with sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB radiation.
- Use sunscreen daily, even if it is cloudy, since most of the sun's radiation penetrates clouds and can still cause sunburn.
- Consider using a sunscreen with ingredients (such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) that physically block the sun's radiation if your child has sensitive skin.
- Deet lowers the effectiveness of sunscreens, so use a higher SPF if you are using a combination product that has both a sunscreen and an insect repellant.
See our guide to Seven Steps for Safer Sunning for more information.