Be Sun Smart This August

baby walk IMG_0133Whether it’s a last minute trip to the beach or lake, band camp or football camp, keep your family protected from the sun this month and all year long. Make sunscreen a part of your daily routine. Ashley Hanna, a nurse practitioner in pediatric dermatology at Children’s South, explains what parents should look for when buying sunscreen. “We do recommend an SPF of 30 or greater in sunscreen,” she says. “It’s also important to look on the ingredient label for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to be listed in the ingredients.” Hanna says children should wear sunscreen from the time they are six months old. Before then, a baby’s skin is too sensitive and it’s best to keep them completely covered with cool clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, or out of the sun altogether. For all other ages, remember sunscreen is only effective when it’s used correctly.

How to Use Sunscreen

  • Apply sunscreen whenever your kids will be in the sun. For best results, apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before kids go outside.
  • Don’t forget about ears, hands, feet, shoulders and behind the neck. Protect lips with an SPF 30 lip balm.
  • Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often, about every 2 hours. Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming. Apply a water-resistant sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming. Regardless of the water-resistant label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when kids come out of the water.
  • Throw out any sunscreen that is past its expiration date or that you have had for 3 years or longer.

Hanna says if your child does get sunburned, there are things you can do to help make them more comfortable. “Make sure they stay hydrated, apply moisturizer and you can give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen.” Watch their symptoms closely. If there’s any sign of blistering or dehydration, you should call the doctor immediately. And remember, repeated sunburns lead to skin cancer. Unprotected sun exposure is even more dangerous for children who have many moles or freckles, have very fair skin and hair or have a family history of skin cancer. It’s important for parents to be a good role model by consistently wearing sunscreen and limiting sun exposure. Lead by example to teach children to be sun smart.†

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