SPF Smarts

Learn how to protect your child from the sun's harmful rays.
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While most pediatricians recommend that kids wear sunscreen, only 24% reinforce the importance of reapplying it and less than half advocate staying in the shade during peak daylight hours, finds new research from the University of Texas in Houston. Here, some additional sunscreen insight from Amy Paller, M.D., professor of pediatrics and dermatology at Northwestern University in Chicago:

  • The sun protection factor (SPF) matters -- to a point. Children should wear SPF 30; anything higher is not significantly more effective. Just be sure you apply enough of it. One full ounce, which fills a shot glass, covers an adult's body; most young kids need about half that amount.
  • Applying both sunscreen and bug repellent can significantly lower the SPF. That's the advantage of using a combination product (such as Off! Skintastic with Sunscreen).
  • Even if your child wears sunscreen with a high SPF, you still have to reapply it frequently. Every two hours is the golden rule -- or even more often if you notice your child is perspiring, swimming, or toweling off a lot.

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Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the June/July 2003 issue of Child magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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