Children First: Safe Sunscreen - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Safe Sunscreen

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With summer in full swing, Black Hills area pools and lakes will be filled with people enjoying the sunny skies and warm temperatures.

This means parents are sure to use plenty of sun protection for their little ones, but which SPF level do doctors recommend for kids?

"A safe SPF is 30 if not higher," said Dermatologist Robert Sage.

He adds sunscreen should be 'broad spectrum' because it protects from both UVA rays, which can cause cancer, and UVB rays, which lead to redness and burning.

Sage says using higher SPF levels like 80 less than lower ones (30) is a common misconception, and that any level of sunscreen still needs to be applied multiple times if spending long hours in the sun.

"Most sunscreen last only up to three hours at most," said Sage. "The higher the number provides a higher strength of protection and it does not simply multiply how long you can keep it on."

The FDA's web site says for best results children should have their sunscreen reapplied every 40 to 60 minutes.

Sage says any level of sunscreen should not be put on infants under six months.

"There's additives in, there's preservative," he said. "Things that you just don't want to put on newly developing skin."

A concern Liz Breed has for her five-month-old daughter.

"I don't even bring her really in the sun at the pool," said Breed. "I keep her in the shade and when I go in the water with her I shield her from the sun."

For more information regarding sunscreen protection and to see drug facts, click here.

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