Sun Safety Tips

The Division of Trauma and Burn Surgery at Children's National Health System is dedicated to increasing awareness about sun safety for infants and adolescents. By minimizing your child's sun exposure and using sunscreen, you can prevent potential damage and scarring.

Minimizing Sun Exposure

It’s healthy and important for children to play outside. The key is keeping your child’s skin safe from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays when he or she is in the sun. Here are six tips for reducing sun exposure:

  • Do not go out in the sun during peak hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out into the sun. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating
  • Chemicals to avoid in sunscreens: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene and homosalate. These chemicals can cause allergic skin reactions and change hormone function in the body
  • Wear a hat and/or sun-protective clothing specifically designed to shield against ultraviolet rays (which can cause sunburn)
  • Sun protective clothing (such as the shirts pictured above) provides ultraviolet protection (UPF) of 30 to 50+. This blocks 96 to 98% of the sun's harmful rays
  • There's no need for sunscreen when your child's body is covered with UPF clothing

Recommended Sunscreens

Be sure to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. We suggest the following:

  • Alba Botanica Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+
  • COOLA Baby Mineral Sunscreen Unscented Moisturizer, SPF 50
  • Bare Republic Natural Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, SPF 50
  • Beauty Counter All Over Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby, SPF 60+
  • California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Thinksport for Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+
  • Babyganics Mineral Based Sunscreen, SPF 50+
  • Goddess Garden Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

It’s important to remember that your child’s skin is more vulnerable to sun damage than your skin. By following these recommendations for sun protection, you will help protect your child from burning and other skin damage.