Sunscreen Safety for Kids

sunscreen myths 1962

Common myths about protecting your child’s skin

Contributed by Sunny Gault of New Mommy Media

We know skin protection is important—especially in the San Diego summer sun—but there is a lot of misinformation about sunscreens and how to best protect the delicate skin of our children. Dr. Caroline Piggott is a pediatric dermatologist at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. She says it’s important for parents to use sunscreen properly to preserve the skin and protect against skin cancers, like melanoma. “Each blistering sunburn a child gets increases their risk of developing cancer,” she says.

Keep your family safe from summer sun. Here are common myths about sunscreen protection:

Myth #1

Sunscreen with the highest SPF is best.
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s rays. Higher number SPFs may block slightly more, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s rays.

Myth #2
Babies less than 6 months should not wear sunscreen.

The American Academy of Pediatrics primarily recommends additional lightweight clothing and shade to protect your baby’s skin. However, if that is not available, parents can apply a small amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.

Myth #3
Some sunscreens are waterproof or sweat-proof.
The Federal Drug and Food Administration says no sunscreen is truly waterproof or sweat-proof, but it can be water resistant. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of water.

Myth #4
Kids who have a tan or are dark-skinned don’t need sunscreen.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, everyone—regardless of race or ethnicity—is at risk for overexposure to the sun. A base tan is not a substitute for sunscreen and there is no such thing as a “healthy tan”—it’s simply damaged skin.

Myth #5
Sunscreen is all children need to stay safe from the sun.
Sunscreen is only one piece of the puzzle. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends staying in the shade whenever possible. Also, limit sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 am–4 pm.

For more information about sunscreen safety for your children, be sure to listen to our podcast. We also explore new label changes required by the Food and Drug Administration to help families determine what type of sunscreen is best for them.


Sunny Gault is a San Diego mom of four and founder of The New Mommy Media Network, where you’ll find free podcasts for new and expecting parents.

Published July 2016

Toddler Products Review

Toddler Products Review

Toddler Products! Check out these products designed especially for the growing curiosity and independence of toddlers. Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong Booster Seats$49.99-$99.99; Graco.comProvide sa . . .

Read more

Let the Kids Get Dirty

Let the Kids Get Dirty

A clean freak’s tips for outdoor playAs a recovering clean freak, I often create excuses to avoid going outside. Kids have a knack for achieving maximum grubbiness outdoors. My 3-year-old likes to . . .

Read more

Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Common myths about protecting your child’s skinContributed by Sunny Gault of New Mommy MediaWe know skin protection is important—especially in the San Diego summer sun—but there is a lot of mi . . .

Read more

Toddler Product Review

Toddler Product Review

Toddler Products! Check out these products designed especially for the growing curiosity and independence of toddlers. CUPPIES $7.49; jjrabbit.com It’s time to transition to a real cup; but, . . .

Read more

Confessions of a Mortified Mom: how she handled public tantrums

Confessions of a Mortified Mom: how she handled public tantrums

Temper tantrums from the little ones can strike at any time—unfortunately even when we’re in the middle of the grocery aisle or picking up a coffee to go. It may not be our finest hour, but gett . . .

Read more

Nighttime Potty-Training Tips for Success

Nighttime Potty-Training Tips for Success

Evaluate your expectations. You might expect that the moment your children learn how to control their bladders during the day that will also mean immediate nighttime success, but that scenario is q . . .

Read more

Baby Teeth are Very Important

Baby Teeth are Very Important

Primary (baby) teeth eventually fall out, but until they do, they play a critical role in your child’s development. They are important for biting into and chewing food, speech development and savi . . .

Read more

Lessons Learned from

Lessons Learned from "Toddlers & Tiaras"

Top 5 Lessons Parents Can Learn from “Toddlers & Tiaras” To most parents “Toddlers & Tiaras” is so offensive that we can hardly watch it, let alone relate to it. After all, this is a . . .

Read more

Bye Bye Binky! How to Part With The Pacifier

Bye Bye Binky! How to Part With The Pacifier

Ready to help your child give up a pacifier? Here are some tips for navigating the tricky transition. Whether they’re crystal clear, neon-bright or covered in rhinestones, pacifiers are the modern . . .

Read more

Potty Training At Night

Potty Training At Night

When my first daughter showed signs of potty readiness at age two, I was more than ready to help her ditch the diapers. Before long, she was proudly sporting Elmo underwear and staying dry all day l . . .

Read more

Food Allergy Alert

Food Allergy Alert

Carol D’Agnese is afraid of cheese, milk and anything else that comes from a cow. It is an odd phobia, but D’Agnese has every reason to fear dairy products. Her son, Luke, was nearly killed by a . . .

Read more

Dropping a Nap Without Drama

Dropping a Nap Without Drama

The road to a single nap can be bumpy. Let us lead the way. The move from two naps to a single afternoon nap is a hallmark of toddlerhood, but it’s fraught with confusion for parents. Your tot kn . . .

Read more

Prepare Your Toddler for a New Sibling

Prepare Your Toddler for a New Sibling

Prepare Your Toddler For A New Sibling You were elated to bring your first baby into your family, and you delight in watching her grow. Now it’s time for your baby to become a big sister! Preparing . . .

Read more

Getting Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal

Getting Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal

How to Get Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal A smorgasbord of secrets for successful small-fry suppers If you are raising a toddler, then you need very few reminders of how it can be a real strugg . . .

Read more

Making Art with Toddlers

Making Art with Toddlers

 The toddler years are the perfect time to make art projects and experiment with different materials. Many parents show their toddler how to color with crayons, but often think that their ch . . .

Read more

The Right Shoe Fit Can Prevent Spine, Back & Foot Problems

The Right Shoe Fit Can Prevent Spine, Back & Foot Problems

A recent study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed that 52.8 percent of outdoor shoes and 61.6 percent of indoor shoes were too small for the . . .

Read more

Potty Training Success

Potty Training Success

Prodding, pleading, pushing, punishing—these are the tactics parents use when toilet training their child. But according to experts, it is patience and praise that make potty training really pay o . . .

Read more

When Can you Ditch Your Child’s Booster Seat?

When Can you Ditch Your Child’s Booster Seat?

Don’t ditch your child’s booster seat too soon In the last 20 years, America has seen a 71 percent drop in infant fatality rates from vehicle crashes, thanks to the proper use of car seats. For . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!