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How To Apply Sunscreen on Your Kids

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Updated July 03, 2010

Most parents know that it is important to use sunscreen, but kids still end up very tanned or getting sunburned at least once or twice a year.

Why?

It usually isn't because parents are forgetting to use sunscreen, but instead, they often aren't using it correctly. This how to on using sunscreen can help you avoid sunburn and that "healthy tan," which, of course, isn't very healthy at all.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: a few minutes to apply sunscreen all over your child's body

Here's How:

  1. Get ready to apply sunscreen on your child about 30 minutes before your child is going to be outside. If you wait until your child is already outside, then you will leave your child unprotected -- as it takes time for sunscreen to work. If you apply sunscreen before your child goes outside, you can also do it before he gets dressed, being sure to get all areas of his body that might be exposed to the sun.
  2. Be prepared to apply a generous layer of sunscreen all over your child's body. In general, parents often don't apply enough sunscreen on their children.
  3. Start with one body part, such as an arm, and apply a thick layer of sunscreen all over, rubbing it in thoroughly (or spraying it on) before moving on to another area.
  4. Go from area to area, being sure to include the back of your child's neck, his shoulders, ears, feet and the back of his arms and legs. It is usually a good idea to apply sunscreen on your child's face last, since kids often don't like that part. Use the same system each time you put sunscreen on your child, that way you will be unlikely to make a mistake and miss an area of your child's body.
  5. Re-apply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially if your child is swimming or sweating.

Tips:

  1. Choose a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, is water resistant, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
  2. Don't forget to apply sunscreen every day that your child is going outside, even when it is cloudy, since you can get a sunburn even when it isn't very sunny.
  3. As a general rule, a handful of sunscreen should be the right amount to cover your child's body -- larger kids have larger hands, so that helps you adjust the amount for different-size kids.
  4. Choose a form of sunscreen that you and your child are most likely to use, whether that means it is a gel, lotion, spray, continuous spray, etc.
  5. Even when using sunscreen or sunblock, try to avoid or limit sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest, from about 10 a.m. to 4p.m.

What You Need

  • A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to 30.

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