No parent wants his
or her child to come
home with a painful
sunburn. Because skin
damage is cumulative,
too much exposure
to the sun can lead to
wrinkles, spots and
even skin cancer later
in life. Melanoma, the
most dangerous form
of skin cancer, is on
the rise. Fortunately,
regular use of
sunscreen can reduce
the risk of developing
Skin Protection Tips
Here are 11 recommendations to protect you and your children from the sun:
- Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Because
the sun’s rays are at their strongest during the
middle of the day, try to schedule outings for the
morning, late afternoon or evening.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more that protects
against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Before applying sunscreen, read the label
thoroughly. Knowing the expiration date and the list
of ingredients can help avoid an allergic reaction.
- Apply plenty of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before
going outside. Use two or three tablespoons and be
sure to include the face, neck, ears, hands and feet.
Consider using a sunscreen with zinc oxide, which is
less likely to irritate skin.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours,
with more frequent applications if your child is
swimming. Water and perspiration wash away even
- Don’t forget to protect your lips. Use a sunscreen
stick for the lips, nose and mouth.
- Sunscreen is not recommended for infants 6
months of age or younger. Protect these little
ones with protective apparel, an umbrella, and
- Have your child wear a long-sleeved
shirt and a hat outdoors. A baseball cap with a brim
provides some protection, but a shirt or hat
made with sun-resistant
fabric is even better.
Remember, if you can see through a hat or shirt,
the sun’s rays can get through.
- Wear sunglasses. UVA and UVB rays can damage
the cornea and the retina, leading to cataracts,
eye tumors or other serious conditions. Get your
child in the habit of wearing sunglasses.
- Treat sunburns immediately. If your child has
painful, red skin, large blisters or cracks on the
skin, seek immediate treatment from your child’s
- Be a role model. Your children are more likely to
develop healthy habits if you practice them.
Ana M. Duarte, MD, is the director of dermatology at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital.