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December 02, 2021

Where Every Family Matters

SUN SMART: Ready or Not, Here Comes Summer!

Your kids will be going to camps, swim outings or just playing outside. Keep the memories happy — and kids safe — by protecting your family from sunburn.

Are you in too much of a rush to put sunscreen on the kids? Don’t be. Make a mental note to always leave a little extra time in the mornings in order to get everyone protected before leaving for day camp or swimming fun. Young skin requires 30 minutes for the protective film that protects skin from harmful UV rays to develop. Think ‘sun readiness’ on top of sun safety here.
    But first things first: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasizes babies younger than 6 months old stay out of direct sunlight altogether. Instead, protect them with shade, use sun hats and protective clothing. The AAP does not recommended sunscreen for babies under 6 months old. After that, use sunscreen on all of your kids, no matter their skin pigmentation, and top hats on whoever will wear one and can manage to hold onto it!

Choosing Sunscreen

Last summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new regulations affecting how sunscreens are marketed. Sunscreen labels are no longer allowed to feature the words “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and “sunblock,” because no sunscreen is truly waterproof or sweatproof, and no lotion completely blocks the sun’s harmful rays.
     The ingredients once found in “blocks” — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — are now used in physical aka mineral sunscreens. These ingredients protect skin from the sun by acting as a physical block.  These products are much pricier than chemical sunscreens — which also block rays — but are filled with, well, chemicals.  To know if your sunscreen is chemical or not, read the ingredients. If zinc oxide and titanium dioxide aren’t there, you know it’s a chemical formula.
    No matter your child’s skin type, it’s important to take daily precautions to protect it from the sun.
    “No matter the skin pigmentation, sun protection is vital,” said Sharon Albers, M.D. assistant professor of dermatology and director, pediatrics dermatology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital to My Southern Health for Vanderbilt Health.

Albers also suggests the following sun protection tips:

• Use SPF products of at least 30

Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out

• Reapply every two hours or after swimming



• Too much sun can lead to sunburn, skin damage, eye 
  damage, skin cancer and a weakened immune system.

• Simple sun safety precautions can minimize the risks
  of sun exposure.

• Sun safety is about timing, shade, protective clothing
  and sunscreen. It takes diligence!

• Be a role model for sun safety.


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About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this publication and the mom of four amazing kids.