The Best Sunscreen for Kids

The Best Sunscreen for Kids
The faithful application of sunscreen prevents sunburns, premature aging of the skin and the potential development of skin cancer. While adults have plenty of choices when it comes to sunscreen protection, choosing the best sunscreen for kids depends on the children's ages and the kinds of activities in which they engage. For example, children under the age of 1 year should not be treated with a regular kind of sunscreen lotion but instead rely on specialty sun blockers.

Protective Gear for Infants

Infants younger than 12 months should be protected with UV-resistant clothing in addition to specially formulated sun-blocking lotions. The goal is sun protection that equals an ultraviolet protection factor (UVF) of 50.

The Mountain Sprouts base romper--starting at $28 (as of 2009)--offers the comfort that breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics provide and the whimsical colors. You may choose from three different sizes; small fits babies between the ages of newborn to 6 months, while medium is for infants between 6 and 12 months. Young toddlers between 12 and 18 months should wear a large size, while older toddlers between 18 and 24 months fit into an extra-large romper. The garment comes in canary yellow, cranberry, and indigo.

In a pinch, you may be able to rely on Grangers Sun Shield Protectorant, which is a wash-in garment UVF enhancer. Depending on the clothes you choose for your child, you could enhance their sun-screening abilities up to UVF 50.

Sunscreen Containing Zinc or Titanium Oxide is Safe for Babies

The same ingredient that makes diaper rash creams so effective---zinc or titanium oxide---also makes infant sunscreen safe; sometimes you will see it in combination with titanium oxide. As opposed to other kinds of sunscreen lotions, this cream actually stays on the upper layers of the skin rather than being absorbed.

Adult sunscreens are just as effective on a baby's skin, but dermatologists warn against using them on a child's entire body. The problem arises when the infant's skin absorbs the chemicals, which may lead to diarrhea, allergic reactions and sickness. Choose a specialty infant sunscreen to be on the safe side. A great example is the Baby Blanket brand, which offers titanium dioxide sun block starting at $8 (as of 2009) for a 6-oz. bottle.

Colored UVF 30 Sunscreen for Kids over 12 Months

Dermatologists suggest that kids should learn to use sunscreen as early as possible. One option is using brightly colored lotions that lose their coloring when properly rubbed into the skin. They are fun for kids and offer all-body protection. The minimum UVF any sunscreen should possess is sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. An example is Avon's Cool 'n Fabulous sunscreen, which goes on blue but turns translucent when you apply it to the skin. A 4-oz. bottle retails for about $6 (as of 2009).

Enhanced Sunscreens

The best sunscreen for kids will do little if it washes off as soon as the child jumps into the pool or begins to sweat. Buy the kinds of sunscreen your children will wear and that are formulated for their activities. For example, sweat-resistant and waterproof sunscreen does not have to be reapplied as often, even if your child plays in a soccer match of swims in the pool. Other enhancements to sunscreens for kids include bug repellents, which are useful when spending time on the trails, and you want to ensure that the youngsters do not get bothered by mosquitoes. Avon offers a 4-oz. pump spray of Skin So Soft that provides SPF 30 and also insect protection. The product starts at $13 (as of 2009).

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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