The Doctor Mom
Contact the Doctor Find the Doctor at Facebook Get The Doctor in a Reader Follow the Doctor on Twitter

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer is here!

Summer is officially here so let the fun begin!  So, lets start our summer safety review and discuss...


The dangers of sun exposure are well known to us now (sunburn, skin cancer) and protecting your children from sunburn should be a summer priority.  The good thing is that most kids are so used to applying sunscreen and if you start early enough, they will not usually protest (ha!).  So, what should you look for in a sunscreen?

Use some of the following tips to pick your favorite for the season...

1.  BROAD SPECTRUM. Make sure it covers both UVA and UVB rays.

2.  SPF.  SPF is the amount of UV radiation required to cause sunburn on skin with the sunscreen on, relative to the amount required without the sunscreen. So, wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30, your skin will not burn until it has been exposed to 30 times the amount of sun that would normally cause it to burn.

So is a higher number better?  And what number should I buy?

For kids, buy a sunscreen that has AT LEAST an SPF of 30.  If you buy higher, that is fine, but don't pay more for it because it probably will protect the same as 30, which blocks about 97% of UVB rays.

3.  APPLICATION.  Turns out that the way you apply sunscreen is probably more important that the brand you buy or the type (gel, lotion, spray etc.). So, buy whatever type you find to be the easiest to put on. It is probably best to stock the cupboard with a spray and a lotion for different circumstances, and go with a stick or a lotion for the face.

DON'T FORGET!: IT TAKES TIME FOR THE SUNSCREEN TO WORK! Apply about 30 minutes before sun exposure. Try not to apply and then let your child run outside because it will leave them unprotected.


A good rule of thumb is a HANDFUL…the size of their hand. And as they get bigger their hands will grow too!


In general, you need to reapply every 2 hours, possibly sooner depending on the type of sunscreen and activity. If you buy a waterproof type, it may stay on longer and rub off in the water, but 2 hours is the MAX.

Remember, you are applying sunscreen NOT sunblock, so watch carefully and reapply early and often. Also keep in mind that the strongest sun is from 10 am to 4 pm, so add extra protection at these times.

What is in my cupboard this season?

So far, this is my spray of choice for the kids. The kids variety goes on oily and makes a mess, but this one is dry and easy to apply. LOVE IT!


This is my lotion of choice, but it is hard to find this year. It is a lotion but goes on without much need to rub in, kind of like a thin gel. If you can find it, BUY IT…oh, and send me some!

(PS…I wish I had a financial stake in Banana Boat, but unfortunately, I do not, so these are my unbiased recs.)