8 Ways Doctors Protect Their Own Kids
You need to think about sun safety year-round-whether you’re at the beach, at a soccer game, or in your backyard. In fact, your child gets lots of little doses of UV when you don’t even realize it-while sitting in his stroller or even in the back seat of the car-and they all add up. Here are smart ways to stay safe.
- Nuture your children’s lotion devotion. Put sunscreen on them every day after they brush their teeth or before they get dressed. “If you get kids in the habit of wearing sunscreen when they’re young, they’ll be more likely to make it part of their routine as they get older,” says Dr. Cambio.
- Fill a basket by your front door with sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen. Grab a bottle on your way out so you can put more on later in the day.
- Keep sunscreen in all your bags�from your purse to kids’ sports duffels. At the beach, keep it in your cooler; it’ll feel refreshing when you reapply.
- Put tubes OF SPF 30 lip balm in the pockets of frequently worn coats, backpacks, and purses.
- Pack sunscreen with your child for preschool or day care, and talk to his teacher about reapplying it.
- Make it fun to play in the shade. Get a UV-protective tent to use in your backyard.
- Explain to your kids that too much sun is bad for their skin. “Just like you tell them about the dangers of smoking and the importance of eating healthy foods, talk to them about risks from the sun,” says Susan Boiko, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente, in San Marcos, California.
- Let your kids see you putting sunscreen on yourself�and don’t even think about going to a tanning salon.
If you’re like 58 percent of the Parents readers we polled, evaluating sunscreen labels can seem like reading a chemistry textbook. Here are the most important things you need to know when you shop.
- Buy at least SPF 30. Many experts say that SPF 15 is plenty, but going higher gives you a crucial margin of error. “If you don’t apply enough-which most people don’t-then an SPF 15 will only be an SPF 6 or 7,” says Dr. Boiko. “If you don’t use enough of an SPF 30, it may be equivalent to an SPF 15.”
- Choose one that says “broad spectrum,” “multispectrum,” or “UVA/UVB protection.” This means it protects against both UVB and UVA rays (although not necessarily equally). Look on the ingredient list for avobenzone (aka Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or oxybenzone-all of these ingredients shield against both types of rays.