Summer Sun Safety for Children

Posted at 12:32 PM on Jun 8, 2023

Summer Sun Safety for Children

While our children begin spending more time outdoors as the weather warms, it is important that we don’t forget as parents about the importance of sun safety. While sunblock is a key component in protecting our children from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, many parents are concerned about the chemicals found in conventional sunscreens. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives available that provide effective sun protection as well as small changes you can make to protect them from the sun.

Understanding Sun Safety for Children

Protecting children from the sun's harmful rays is crucial to prevent sunburns, skin damage, and long-term risks such as skin cancer. You can implement easy changes to best help protect your kiddos from the sun, such as:

  • Seek shaded play spots
  • Monitor how long they are spending in direct sunlight and call for shade breaks frequently
  • Keep them hydrated by always bringing a reusable water bottle along for regular sips
  • Wear protective clothing - there are now options with built-in UV protection
  • Don a cool pair of shades to protect their eyes from the powerful rays 
  • Make a large, brimmed hat part of their outdoor play apparel
  • Apply sunscreen everyday, even when it may not be sunny; this can be done year-round

Natural Sunblock Options

Understanding Sun Safety for Children

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide-Based Sunscreens
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are minerals that act as physical blockers, reflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin. These ingredients are gentle on sensitive skin and provide broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunscreens with high percentages of these minerals (such as SPF 50) to ensure adequate protection.  These are the most common types of sunscreen.  They may be a little drying to the skin and leave your skin with a white-coating because this type of sunscreen sits on top of the skin rather than being absorbed.

Raspberry Seed Oil
Raspberry seed oil is a natural oil derived from raspberry seeds and is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It offers natural sun protection due to its high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help absorb and scatter UV radiation. While raspberry seed oil provides some sun protection, it is not effective at blocking UVA rays and, therefore, it is recommended to combine it with other ingredients for enhanced efficacy.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, renowned for its various benefits, also offers some natural sun protection. It contains natural SPF properties that can block a certain percentage of UV rays. However, its SPF factor is relatively low, so it is advised to use coconut oil as a supplement to other sunblock methods rather than relying solely on it.

Shea Butter
Shea butter is a rich, natural moisturizer that contains a small amount of SPF (around SPF 6). While it may not provide sufficient protection on its own, it can be blended with other ingredients to boost their sun-blocking abilities. Its hydrating properties also help soothe and nourish the skin after sun exposure.

Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is an essential oil derived from the seeds of carrots and is known for its high concentration of antioxidants and vitamins. It contains natural SPF properties and can be used as a supplementary ingredient in sunblock preparations. However, it is important to note that carrot seed oil alone does not provide adequate protection and should be combined with other sun-blocking ingredients.

Chemical Sunblock Options
Another common type of sunscreen found at your local drug or convenient store is chemical sunscreen.  This type of sunscreen contains several kinds of carbon-based chemicals that are absorbed by the skin, which, in turn, absorb UV rays and convert them to heat, which is then released by the skin.  It is thin and does not leave a white coating on the skin.  It is also more water and sweat resistant compared to mineral sunscreens.  It does take about 15-20 minutes after applying to be effective, may be irritating to sensitive skin, and use should be avoided in children.

Make Sun Safety a Priority

The biggest battle may simply be for us as parents to remember to make sun safety for our children a priority. Whether you opt for using a blend of natural sunblocks or choosing to lather your children up in 100 SPF mineral sunblock, the choice is yours to make. Beginning to focus on sun safety is the first step in better protecting your children from the harmful effects of the sun.

Have questions? We are here to help. Come prepared for your next visit with any sun safety questions you may have.