10 Tips for Kids’ Sunscreen Safety in 2012

Another summer, another confusing season for parents– at least when it comes to sunscreen safety.

While new, easier-to-understand sunscreen label guidelines were supposed to be in place by June 2012, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that the changes would be delayed for another six months. Now, several U.S. lawmakers are petitioning for the new sunscreen labeling rules to be rolled out before the summer beach season hits and requesting that the FDA decision be reversed.

In the interim, the Environmental Working Group has just released their annual sunscreen guide and Consumer Reports offered its annual list of best sunscreen buys.

Here are 10 things to know about kids’ sun safety in 2012:

1. Avoid sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate. FDA research suggests that this chemical– which is a form of Vitamin A– could actually increase skin cancer risk on sun-exposed skin.

2. High sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreens are not necessarily better and may cause users to become lax when it comes to reapplying. Products touting SPFs over 50 may even be banned with the new labeling.

3. Skip the spray and powder sunscreens, which contain particles that can be inadvertently inhaled. According to the EWG, some powdered sunscreens contain nanoscale and micronized zinc oxide, which can cause lung inflammation.

4. Look for sunscreens that contain words like “baby” or “kids” in the product name. Products marketed for children are less likely to contain allergy-inducing fragrances and the hormone-disrupting chemical Oxybenzone.

5. Hats, shirts and sunglasses are an important defense against the sun’s rays. The Mayo Clinic recommends investing in sun-protective clothing for all outdoor activities.

See also  Easy Native American Rain Stick Craft for Younger and Older Children

6. Tell your kids to avoid the midday sun and seek shade whenever possible. The peak hours for the sun are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

7. According to USA Today, no product totally blocks harmful rays, and terms like “sunblock,” “waterproof” and “sweatproof” are misleading because all products wear off. New labels will use the terminology “water resistant” and will include a timeframe of when to reapply.

8. Be sure to use enough sunscreen. According to Consumer Reports, you should liberally apply at least two tablespoons of lotion all over the body. Repeat the process and reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

9. The Consumer Reports’ ratings of 18 popular sunscreens lists No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45 and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50 as this season’s best buys.

10. The EWG report rates the 188 best beach and sport sunscreens for 2012. Among the group’s top rated picks: All Terrain, Kiss My Face and Sunology.