As rainy days (eventually) turn into sunny days, we spend more time outside. Which is wonderful–but we don’t often think about sunscreen until the hot days of summer.

Just a few serious sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Children’s skin needs to be protected at all times that they are outdoors–not just in the middle of summer when you’re at the beach.

Children older than 6 months should wear a protective sunscreen. Children 6 months and younger should be kept out of the sun as much as possible, and when exposed to sun should be wearing protective covering.

Most research shows that people use too little sunscreen. A good rule of thumb is to use a finger length of sunscreen for each body part (face, neck, chest, back, each arm, each leg, hands, feet). Other sources recommend 1 ounce as how much you should use on your entire body. 1 ounce is the size of a shot glass or child’s medicine bottle dosage cup.

Finally, remember your sunscreen! You are a role model for your children; taking that extra 10 minutes to apply your own sunscreen will normalize the process for children so that they consider this a regular part of spending time outdoors.

It can be overwhelming making a choice of sunscreen. There are so many products with a wide range of ingredients, purpose, and application method. Lots of misinformation is out there about whether or not certain chemicals are harmful.

The bottom line is that we don’t know very much about the long-term effects of many of the chemicals. But what we do know is that NOT using sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer. One of the more helpful websites is the Environmental Working Group’s site. They list the majority of kids’ sunscreen products; give information about ingredients, research about those ingredients, and recommendations. Because they don’t sell sunscreen, they are an unbiased source of information. – .WuIDFlMvzMV

Enjoy the nice weather, but remember that a little bit of time spent on prevention can make a huge difference in your child’s life.

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