Katie MacDonald, MSN, CPNP is a pediatric nurse practitioner for Inova Urgent Care and the Children’s Emergency Room at Inova Loudoun Hospital – Loudoun County’s only emergency facility solely dedicated to caring for children and adolescents. It is also the first and only sensory-friendly ER in Loudoun County.
Inova Urgent Care offers specialized pediatric urgent care services at the Dulles South, Reston, Tyson’s Corner, and West Springfield urgent care locations.
The sun’s out, fun’s out! Right? Well, only if your skin is protected from harmful sun rays that can cause sunburns.
In February, the FDA announced an update to review the ingredients in sunscreen for optimal safety. Here are some helpful guidelines when shopping for barrier sunscreens that are considered safe and effective for adults and children:
- Choose products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
- Avoid products that contain PABA and trolamine salicylate.
- Consider avoiding sunscreens with the ingredient oxybenzone, a chemical that may have hormonal properties.
- Look for a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” which protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
Sun safety tips for children and families:
- Limit time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun rays are the strongest.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
- Reapply sunscreen frequently – at least every 1.5 – 2 hours, and after swimming or sweating.
- Remember that it is still possible to get sun damage and sunburn on cloudy days.
- Sunscreen does expire – check the label.
- Store your sunscreen carefully as it can become less effective if left in the heat or sun.
Sun safety tips for babies under 6 months of age:
- Keep babies in the shade and out of sunlight as much as possible.
- Dress them in light clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Light-weight, long-sleeve shirts, pants, hats and sunglasses.
- If needed, apply sunscreen to exposed skin (e.g. face, back of hands, tips of ears, feet) 15 – 30 minutes before going out into the sun to prevent sunburn.
- Keep babies cool and monitor them closely to prevent risks associated with prolonged or overexposure to heat.
If you think you or your child may have experienced a sunburn or have further questions, visit an Inova Urgent Care center.