Here Comes the Sun! The Scoop on SPF

Sun Safety Solutions

Help! Advice from the Experts

Blue hat with neck cover

Peter Ardito

"Getting sunscreen onto my daughter's scalp is impossible."
Genevieve Ritchie; Buena, NJ

This can be especially tricky with thick or curly hair. To protect your child's part, swipe it with a stick sunscreen. Then shield the rest of her head using a spray sunscreen that's made specifically for the scalp and hair. This will penetrate her hair and make it to the scalp without leaving hair stiff or greasy.

"I worry that my 2-year-old's day-care providers don't put enough sunscreen on him."
Rene Butters; Germantown, MD

Portion it out into small containers with snap lids, suggests Dr. Elaine Siegfried. Each should hold nearly a shot glass?worth of sunscreen (or a bit less if your child is wearing playclothes instead of a swimsuit). Tell caregivers to use a container's worth before each outing. And then don't forget to refill them each night.

"I need to find a sunscreen that won't sting my children's eyes when they sweat."
Roxy Murphy; Colorado Springs, CO

You can actually skip applying sunscreen to your child's forehead, where it's likely to run into the eyes, as long as she wears a hat and sunglasses, recommends Dr. Dawn Davis. For little kids who tend to pull off their shades, try a pair with a band that wraps around the head, and a hat with a chin strap.

Put a Lid On It

Think of a hat as your child's personal patch of shade. "The earlier you insist your child wear one, the easier it will be to get her to buy into it," says Dr. Elaine Siegfried. Look for one with these features:

A flap that covers the ears and neck. Otherwise, make sure there's a brim that's 2 to 3 inches wide and goes all the way around. (Traditional baseball caps, for example, leave too much skin exposed.)

Lightweight, tight-knit fabrics. They prevent the sun from penetrating -- a loose weave like straw doesn't keep the sun out.

Originally published in the June 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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