Protecting your children from the sun

May 27, 2011 3:04:36 PM PDT
Summer means suntans and sunburns. You may also want to protect both yourself and your children from UVA and UVB, the two types of ultraviolet sunlight that can damage the skin. Sunblocks are the best for most kids, whether they're chemical blocks or mineral, (also called metallic) blocks.

Dr. Friedman adds that you have skin from the moment you are born, and it needs protection from then on. Doctors don't recommend sun block creams for kids who are six months old or younger. Stroller tops and hats work just fine for babies such as 7-and-a-half-month-old Madoc Owen.

Sunblocks with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 60+ are only a little bit more effective percentage-wise than those with an SPF of 30. About a shot glass full is needed to cover all sun exposed areas of the body. However, watch out for the chemical oxybenzone in products, research says it may cause allergic reactions for some people.

The chemicals work to absorb UV burning sun rays. Zinc oxide metallics, also known as "mineral sunblocks", reflect the light away from the skin. The zinc oxide is in microscopic beads that are clear on the skin. Sunblocks such as these block both types of ultraviolet rays. Keep in mind that no matter the cream or SPF, the sunblocks must be applied in the right way.

The longer the interval before exposure, the more time for the blocks to bind to the skin. In addition, there are sun block clothing for kids. they work because they're woven very tightly, and may be heavier than other clothing.