summer safety for kidsWhen shopping for sunscreen, the choices can seem endless. With brands from A to Z and SPF levels from 4 to 100. It can be challenging to discern which is the best choice. Here are a few common sunscreen questions:

What is broad- spectrum sunscreen? The best sunscreens provide both UVA and UVB protection from the sun’s rays. For the best protection, select varieties that contain avobenzone, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Look for bottles with broad spectrum or multi-spectrum on the labels.

What level of SPF should I use? Select a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 to 50. While there are higher SPF sunscreens on the market, they will not provide much added protection. According to some experts, higher SPFs do not increase UVB protection beyond the 97 to 98 percent found in sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or 50.

Is water resistant sunscreen necessary? Even if your child isn’t going for a swim, they should still be wearing a waterproof sunscreen. Outdoor activity in the summer leads to sweating, making sunscreens that are not water proof virtually useless as sweat washes away the protection.

How much sunscreen should I use? When applying sunscreen, be sure to apply a generous amount. You should use approximately a shot glass worth of lotion during each application.

What age should my child use sunscreen? Sunscreen is approved for usage on children ages 6 months and older. For children younger than six months, protective clothing and shade can also offer sun protection.

How often should I reapply sunscreen? Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, or after swimming, sweating or vigorous activity. While water resistant sunscreens often cling to skin better, no sunscreen is truly immune to sweat or water.

What sunscreen is suggested for sensitive skin? If your child has sensitive skin look for products that are hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Apply a small amount of sunscreen to your child’s wrist prior to going in the sun to be certain a rash or irritation doesn’t occur.

Which is better, a lotion or spray sunscreen? Spray sunscreens are a controversial topic among many. While lotions are absorbed through the skin more rapidly, it can be difficult to keep wiggly children still and properly coat all areas of skin.

No matter which brand or type of sunscreen you choose, it is important to apply liberally and frequently. In addition to sunscreen, here are a few more tips for staying safe in the sun.