Keeping Your Child Safe in the Sunshine

Fecha de creación: 06/24/2016
By Nicholas Dodaro, M.D., ABEM, FACEP

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Sunbathing and weekend outings are prime times for sunburns for you and your child. In some cases sunburn, depending on the UV Index factor, can occur in less than 15 minutes. Before you go outdoors, be sure to protect your little one’s skin against damaging sun.

Keep in mind that not all sunscreens are the same. New FDA rules for sunscreen labels make it a lot easier for you to compare products when you shop for sunscreen.

Once children reach the 6-month mark, you need to keep them protected from the sun without harming them in other ways. The Environmental Working Group's recommendations for the best sunscreens for children are products that do not contain potential hormone disruptors. According to EWG Senior Scientist David Andrews, it's inactive ingredients like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and oxybenzone that parents need to watch for.    

Here’s what you can do to protect your child’s skin:

1.     Use sunscreen daily. Apply sunscreen every two hours if they’re swimming or sweating. Sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and be water resistant. When applying, pay close attention to hands, feet and bald spots. Follow these other tips:

o   Look for “broad spectrum” on the label. It means the product passes government tests for effectiveness.

o   Choose products that are water resistant for 40-80 minutes. The terms “waterproof” and “sweat proof” are no longer allowed because they’re misleading.

o   Use one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass).

o   Check the expiration date and replace as needed.

o   Allow 15 minutes for your child’s skin to absorb the product before going outside.

o   Reapply after two hours of sun exposure—and immediately after sweating or swimming. 

o   Avoid spray products — they're convenient but not the best choice. Why skip the convenience of spray lotions? "You don't get a uniform coating on the skin," Andrews says. Plus, "Given the concern about the ingredients in these products, we really don't want to coat the inside of our lungs with sunscreen."

3.     Protect their eyes. Have your child wear sunglasses that feature broad-spectrum protection.

5.     Avoid prime time. Try to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Protecting your child’s skin now will help prevent age spots, wrinkles and even skin cancer that can appear years or  decades later. It takes just a few minutes before you head outside.

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Nicholas Dodaro, M.D., ABEM, FACEP

El Dr. Dodaro está certificado por la Junta Americana de Medicina de Emergencia y es miembro del Colegio Americano de Médicos de Emergencia. Es graduado de la Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Tulane en Nueva Orleans, Louisiana. Su entrenamiento en residencia incluye una pasantía en Medicina Interna en la Universidad de Georgetown y en Medicina de Emergencia en la Universidad de Florida HSC en Jacksonville. El Dr. Dodaro ve a sus pacientes en todos los centros de servicio de Crucial Care y mantiene una variedad de roles de liderazgo y gerencia en toda la organización. Ha ocupado posiciones importantes en una variedad de establecimientos como hospitales privados, servicios de urgencias y Centros médicos académicos. Participa activamente en el crecimiento y desarrollo de Crucial Care Management Services con sede en Jacksonville. El Dr. Dodaro pasa su tiempo libre junto a su esposa y sus tres hijos.

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