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Transitioning into summer can be a bit like culture shock, wouldn’t you agree? As parents of multiples, no matter how prepared we think we are, every year presents new changes as the kids grow and develop new skills. So far this summer, we’ve gone to the beach about a handful of times. As they say, the third time is a charm, because that’s how many times it took to get our sunscreen routine down. Since last summer, my youngest two have gotten really good at making it difficult to apply sunscreen when they don’t feel like being bothered.
Looking back, I was a little rusty at getting my brood beach ready this year. Aside from forgetting baby’s favorite toy at home, and mommy’s favorite beach accessory (my camera), I didn’t think to apply sunscreen on the kids before we left the house (no judgement, please – I have since gotten my act together). So, we arrived at the beach, set up shop, and as soon as I whipped out the sunscreen, my five-year-old Roman pulled a Houdini and disappeared with Dad, and my two-year-old gave me the old swivel neck, making it near impossible to get SPF anywhere but in his hair!
After a myriad of avoidance tactics from the kids, they were properly doused and ready for some fun in the sun. The next time we hit the beach, as planned, our day went swimmingly. Or, so I thought. After being there for a couple of hours, we headed home, and once we got out of the bright sun, and into the car, I saw the redness on the shoulders of my older two (9 and 11 years old). Fully capable of applying their own sunscreen, they opted to do it themselves. This was just a reminder that no matter how capable, I’ve got to triple check, which might mean triple applying – and that’s okay.
My brand partner KnowYourOTCs.org is an awesome resource for the do’s and don’ts of sunscreen selection and application as well as sunburn treatment. Here’s a handful of tips as you and your family set out to soak in some sunshine this summer:
DO select the right sunscreen for you and your family: First, look for broad spectrum sunscreen. Broad spectrum means it protects against UVA and UVB radiation rays. The UVA rays can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and damage that can lead to skin cancer. The UVB rays can cause your skin to burn. The label will indicate this.
DO choose the proper SPF: SPF – or “Sun Protection Factor”- is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects your skin from the kind of UVB rays that cause sunburn. Experts recommend a minimum of SPF 30 as it blocks 97% of the UVB rays when applied (and re-applied) correctly.
DO apply the right amount: When lathering yourself or your kids with sunscreen, the total amount needed is roughly one ounce, or the size of a golf ball…which could be a helpful way to visualize about how much sunscreen you need for proper coverage. While one ounce for an entire body may seem like a lot, for adults that is often what it takes! Using sun protective clothing can also help reduce the surface area you have to cover!
DO apply before sun exposure: Ideally, you should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure. And then re-apply based on your activity. Sunscreen needs to be re-applied AT LEAST every 2 hours or more frequently if you are getting wet or sweating. Helpful hint: Set a timer on your phone. Also, read the label because it will specify how long the sunscreen will remain water-resistant. With high outdoor activity, a good rule of thumb is to re-apply sunscreen every hour of play.
DON’T spray sunscreen directly on a child’s face: Spray it on your hands and then apply it to his/her face. Have children hold their breath when you spray sunscreen on their body, and close their eyes.
DON’T use sunscreen on babies younger than six months-old: If you’re concerned about sun exposure, though, talk with your pediatrician. The risk of sunburn could outweigh the risk of sunscreen use.
DON’T forget other sun blocking accessories: Hats, UV-protective clothing, and rash guard shirts! They are all awesome for protect your skin!
With every passing year, my kids grow wiser than they grow taller, and outsmarting them has become my mission! Just when I think I have it all figured out, they’ll surprise me and I’ve got to think of something new. And when all else fails, my mantra is “bribe with the best of ‘em”. My latest success story? It’s our new summer anthem “S*P*F = SUN*POPSICLE*FUN!” After a day in the sun, there’s nothing more my kids crave, and before we hit the beach or the pool, they’re stoked for SPF knowing that they’ll top the day off with a sweet icey treat. Whatever works, right? Please head over to KnowYourOTCs.Org for more tips on sunscreen 101!