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Summer Sunscreen Alert: Why You Should Stop Using Spray-On Sunblock – Especially on Children

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The Sunscreen Queen

When it comes to my daughter and my fair-skinned self, I’m known as “The Sunscreen Queen.” No skin left behind is my motto. She was blessed with a golden tan much like her father, but I take after my own mother with pasty whiteness aglow. Because I’m terrified of skin cancer, which my father fought later in life, I slather, spray and spread the sunscreen on us until we both look like frosted cakes.

This is no easy task, especially on sandy beaches with wiggly toddlers and along the hard-to-reach areas of my own bod. Spray sunscreen was the answer to my prayers, so I thought.

Say “No” to Spray-On Sunscreens

Turns out, an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration has prompted Consumer Reports as well as The American Academy of Dermatologists to urge parents not to use spray-on sunscreen on or near children.

According to Consumer Reports, the FDA began investigating the risks of the chemicals in spray-on sunscreen being inhaled during application in 2011, but has yet to reach a verdict. While the investigation is ongoing, Consumer Reports is urging parents to stop using sunscreen of the spray variety on children until the FDA completes its analysis.

Wait, There’s More?

This, coupled with the fact that spray-on sunscreens are flammable if they are too close to an open flame such as a grill or fire pit, makes you want to pitch the aerosols for good and go with the old-fashioned lotion.

What to Do If You Are In a Pinch

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the pool and was unhappy to find that the spray was all I had left in my bag from our recent Florida vacation. In this instance, it’s best to spray the sunscreen onto your hands away from the child and rub it in rather than go unprotected.  “When applying spray sunscreens on children, be aware of the direction of the wind to avoid inhalation,” The AAD advises.

Fast Facts

Keeping Kids Safe From Sun from the the American Academy of Pediatricians
  • Avoid sun exposure and sunscreen on babies under 6 months of age
  • Dress all children in hats with a brim, sunglasses and clothing with a tight wave to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Children should use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating
  • Peak sun damage time is 10 AM – 4 PM

 

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