What's the best sunscreen for your child?

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Dr. Sapna Parikh reports on what parents need to know about sunscreen and children (WABC)

There's nothing like a fun summer day at the pool after putting on the sunscreen.

"It says 'kids' on it so I usually just use the kids, and adult for me. I don't know the difference," said parent Amanda Vasta.

But Consumer Reports says THERE MAY NOT BE A DIFFERENCE:

"There's no safer ingredient just for kids. Manufacturers use the same active ingredients in kids' sunscreens as they do in adult sunscreens," said Patricia Calvo from Consumer Reports.

For example, comparing Coppertone Ultra Guard and Coppertone Water Babies side-by-side shows the ingredients are the same. And what about Coppertone's claim that it's the number one pediatrician-recommended brand? Coppertone says it surveys pediatricians to find out which brand they recommend.

But the designaton means little said Calvo:

"You might think that 'pediatrician-tested' or 'pediatrician-recommended' means that the sunscreen is safer, but those terms aren't regulated. The FDA does not hold kids' sunscreen to a higher safety standard than adult sunscreen."

And while spray-on sunscreens are a popular choice, IT MAY NOT BE THE BEST CHOICE for your kids.

"Kids are likely to squirm around. And that means that they risk breathing in the sunscreen. That can be a lung irritant. And some sprays contain titanium dioxide, and if you breathe in those sunscreens it could be a potential cancer risk," said Calvo.

And sprays are flammable, if they haven't dried and you're near an open flame. Don't use any products on babies under the age of 6 months, and keep in mind even if a sunscreen claims to be tear- free or sting-free, it may still sting if it gets in the eyes.

Consumer reports testing shows Coppertone water babies SPF 50 is very effective against harmful UVA and UVB rays. But it costs more than twice as much per ounce as Walmart's Equate ultra protection, SPF 50, which consumer reports named a best buy.

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