Sunscreen Safety Tips
(Environmental Working Group)
How Does Your Favorite Sunscreen Rate?
Go to the Environmental Working Group's Sunscreen Guide to see product ratings for sun protection and chemical safety.
Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk
- First cover up. Hats, shirts and sunglasses are the best protection.
- Avoid sunburn and midday sun when the sun's rays are strongest.
- Pick a sunscreen with strong UVA protection.
- Protect kids! Early life sunburns are worse, so keep little ones out of the hot sun.
- Do not use a tanning bed or sunbathe.
- Examine your skin. Check regularly for new moles that are tender or growing. Ask your primary care doctor how often you should see a dermatologist.
Sun Protection and Children
- High Exposure - We receive about 25% of our lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18.
- Effect of Sunburn - As few as two severe, blistering sunburns before the age of 20 can double the risk for melanoma later in life.
- Protection Rates - Only 66% of adults in Colorado reported using at least one method of sun protection in the last year. For children, the rate was 73%.
- Sunburn Rates - About 40% of adults in Colorado reported having been sunburned in the last year, and nearly 51% of children experienced sunburns in the same time period.
- Tips for Children - Children should play in the shade, wear cover-up clothes, hats and sunglasses, and depending on their age, use sunscreen (see section below).
- Role Modeling - Parents can be excellent role models by practicing sun protective behaviors themselves. So can swim coaches, lifeguards, golf and boating instructors, firefighters, public safety officers, and day camp counselors.
Printable Sun Safe Paper Dolls
Special Precautions for Infants and Toddlers
- 6 Month Rule - According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies under 6 months of age need extra protection from the sun because they have thinner, more sensitive skin.
- Shad and Cover - Infants younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Place them in the shade of a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress them in cool, comfortable clothes that cover body and hats with wide brims that shade the face and ears. Sunscreen is not generally recommended for babies younger than 6 months because of their sensitive skin.
- Sunscreen for Older Babies - Babies and toddlers older than 6 months should use a water-resistant sunscreen made for children.
- Accidental Sunburn - If a young baby does get sunburned, a pediatrician should be called immediately.
- No Exceptions - All babies, even those with darker skin, need to be protected from the sun.
Also Review Previous Month's Tips & Tools