Protect Your Child’s Skin During the Summer Months

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Marty Visscher, PhD, Director, Skin Sciences Institute, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, explains that some parents do not understand the dangers of prolonged sun exposure on their children’s skin.

“During the summer months, it is critical that parents make sure their children use sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing to reduce the risk of sun damage,” Dr. Visscher said. She said the best sunscreen protection will have an SPF number of at least 15 and should be applied liberally to the skin at least once every hour for maximum protection.

Some of the dangerous effects of sun exposure on the skin include sunburn, photosensitive reactions (rashes), and cell and tissue damage. However, Dr. Visscher explains that there are several precautionary methods that parents can take to make sure their children are protected from too much sun exposure:

  • Apply water-resistant sunscreens that help protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays and that have SPF numbers of at least 15.
  • Remember that sunscreen will wash off in water and should be reapplied frequently at least every hour.
  • Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out into the sun.
  • Apply extra sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide to the nose and lips since those areas get the most exposure to the sun.
  • Speak with camp counselors to make sure the counselors apply and reapply sunscreen on children (or at least supervise children when they apply sunscreen).
  • Keep babies younger than six months out of the sun. Sunscreens may irritate baby skin, and an infant's developing eyes are especially vulnerable to sunlight.
  • Make sure your child wears sun-protective clothing that lists the garment's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which is the level of protection the garment provides from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays).
  • Parents need to limit their child’s playtime during the hours when the sun is at its strongest peak, which is between 10 am and 3 pm, in the summer months. Children outside during these peak hours need to take breaks in the shade.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of just eight children’s hospitals named to the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010-11 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is ranked #1 for digestive disorders and highly ranked for its expertise in pulmonology, cancer, neonatology, heart and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for quality and transformation work by Leapfrog, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and by hospitals and health organizations it works with globally. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org

Contact Information

Danielle Lewis, 513-636-9473, danielle.lewis1@cchmc.org