Sunscreen shouldn’t be your only protection from the sun
A toddler’s cringe-worthy second-degree burns from a day at the beach is a harsh reminder that sometimes, sunscreen isn’t enough protection from the sun.
3-year-old Liam Sayers of Virginia spent at least five hours in the sun wearing SPF 50+ Banana Boat kids spray sunscreen, his mom Jennifer Sayers told WTVR CBS 6. “Multiple times during the day we had the kids come out of the water, dried them off completely and then reapplied the sun spray as directed,” she said. Liam was fine on the way home from the beach but woke up with swollen eyes and swelling and blistering on his face.
Sunscreen just isn’t enough protection for anyone spending multiple hours in the sun. “I can never guarantee to a family you won’t get burned despite doing all of the right things,” Pediatrician Dr. Eric Freeman explained. The doctor also advises people to wear sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on sensitive areas like their face. The brand the Sayers family had that day didn’t contain either ingredient.
Edgewell Personal Care, the company that makes Banana Boat products, commented in a statement saying, “Nothing is more important to us than the well-being of the people who use our products. Consumers can rest assured that Banana Boat products provide safe and effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection when used as directed on the product label, and with (ITALICS) other sun protection measures as necessary.”
The key here is other sun protections – shirts, sunglasses, hats, umbrellas and less time in the sun are a few additional ways to prevent burning. “Keep in mind, sunscreen is not meant to allow your kids to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise. Sunscreen reduces damage from UV radiation, it doesn’t eliminate it,” the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions wrote in their Safe in the Sun guide for parents.
It’s also important to plan your outside activities to happen before or after midday – when UV rays are the strongest and most harmful. If you do find yourself outside on a hot day wear sunscreen, cover up with clothing, wear a hat and sunglasses and still seek shade. Sunscreen is only one tool that when used with the others can help to prevent severe burns from the sun.
Read more tips for preventing sunburn on the CDC’s website.