Sun safety

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School is out and summer is here! Summer for my family means visits to the park and the pool, beach vacations and lots of outdoor playtime. My children love to be outside and are already turning brown from time in the sun.

One of my least favorite aspects of summer is sunscreen. Coating four wiggly people in sunscreen is time consuming and messy. Reapplying sunscreen at the beach is the worst! Rubbing sunscreen over sandy bodies feels like I’m scrubbing my children with sandpaper.

My family spent a recent weekend at the beach. I was a bit lazy one afternoon with reapplying sunscreen and we came home with a few mild sunburns as a result—a good reminder to be more diligent with sun safety for the rest of the summer.

A few years ago, as I began looking for the best and safest sunscreen options for my family, I found the EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens. Published every year since 2007, the guide ranks sunscreens according to UV protection and the safety of ingredients. You can look through a list of the best sunscreens or type in the name of your current sunscreen to view its ranking and safety information. The guide has been my favorite tool for finding a sunscreen that works and is safe for my family. The guide can be found at

Although sunscreen is important, it isn’t the only way to keep yourself and your children safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Here are a few additional sun safety tips to consider this summer.

  • Seek shade under a tree or shelter or bring along an umbrella when possible.
  • Cover up with clothes and wide-brim hats to shield your skin from the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.
  • Avoid the midday sun. The sun is at is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade, go inside or apply and reapply sunscreen if you are outside during these times. Plan outdoor play times in the mornings or evenings if possible.
  • Check medicines. Some medicines may increase sun sensitivity. Be sure to check the side effects of any prescription or over the counter medication you or your child may be taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.
  • Don’t be fooled by the weather. Sunburn can happen even on cloudy or cool days. Make sun protection a priority any time you are outside.
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