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One Mom’s Horrifying Experience
Back in May 2017, Rebecca Cannon followed all the instructions on the back of the SPF 50 broad spectrum kids sunscreen she purchased. The label said that the spray was safe for children 6 months of age and older. The labels instructions said for application to the face the sunblock should first be sprayed onto hands, then rubbed onto the skin. Although this mom did exactly as the directions said, her 14-month-old daughter still suffered severe burns on her face.
In this post on Facebook, Cannon shared photos of little Kyla’s facial burns, along with a warning she wants to spread to all parents.
Kyla is back home after another hospital trip this morning due to extream swelling but she is doing ok and is in good spirits .. please watch and be carful when using aerosolized sunscreen ! I have done a lot of research. Since coming home and have found a disturbing amount of cases like ours. I don’t know why it’s not removed from the shelves !! Pictures from first to last is from yesterday morning to this afternoon please be carful the sunscreen used was banana boat spf 50 broad spectrum kids sunscreen — have spoken with banana boat and at this point besides a reimbursement for the product not sounding like they are going to do anything
Cannon went on to say
We have to fight tears every time we look at her and it is so heart breaking .. but we are trying to keep things as normal as can be to try and keep her mind off it although she seems to be in not too much pain
New Findings About Sun Care Products for Children
We purchase a sunscreen specially labeled for children and liberally slather it on them before heading outdoors. After two hours you reapply, then relax, knowing your child is safe from the harmful rays that can cause premature aging and skin cancer.
The bad news is your child may not be as protected as you think. Beyond not providing real protection there is the potential toxicity of many of the ingredients.
“I’m primarily concerned with the lack of safety testing,” says Dr. Rebecca Sutton, a staff scientist with the EWG (Environmental Working Group). There is a long list of ingredients that are potentially harmful, or even cancer-causing, that we just don’t know enough about.
This is especially of concern when it comes to children. The surface area of a child’s skin relative to their body weight is much greater than adults. Any chemical applied to their skin is about 1.4 times more significant than it would be when applied to an adult. Add that to the fact that children are less able to detoxify and excrete chemicals, they have a developing organ system that is more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures, and children are more sensitive to low levels of hormonally active compounds and you have a potentially large problem.
As parents, we can’t do anything about the unknowns, but there is one common sunscreen ingredient that has been linked with a host of problems including allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.
“Parents should also avoid powder and spray sun care,” Sutton says of airborne chemicals potentially dangerous to breathe in. Avoid 2-in-1 combos, like sunscreen mixed with insect repellents.
“You need to apply sunscreen every few hours to be effective and you don’t want to put bug repellent on that often,” says Gray.
Then, of course, there are the basic sun safety tips.
“People rely too heavily on sunscreen alone,” Cohen says.
Sun Protection – Baby Sun Care
Why your baby needs protecting
Although many people think a suntan looks healthy, the link between sunlight and skin cancer has been proven. Research suggests that two or more cases of severe sunburn at an early age can increase the risk of skin cancer later on.
Even in Britain, babies should not go outside without sun protection from the middle of April to the end of September. Pale-skinned children are at risk of sun damage after only five minutes of sunshine.
Look for a hat that has a brim at the front and a flap at the back to shield your baby’s neck. Otherwise, go for one with a wide brim all the way around. It is never too early to start getting your baby used to wear one. If you suddenly jam one on him in toddlerhood, the chances are that it will not be received well and a major strop will ensue.
Between 11 am and 3 pm on sunny days, T-shirts are essential as shoulders are particularly vulnerable and burn quickly. Look for loose-fitting ones made of closely woven cotton. If you go to the seaside, make sure your child keeps on a T-shirt while splashing around in the water, and change him into a dry one when he’s finished.
The high-tech, and more costly, an alternative is brightly colored sun protection suits made of lycra or a lycra and nylon mix. These block out more than 80 percent of harmful UVA rays, much more than a T-shirt can. They also dry quickly and can be worn in and out of the water.
Sunglasses for children may seem a luxury, but they do protect their eyes from the sun, and children should be encouraged to wear them from the age of six months. Make sure they protect against both UVA and UVB rays and that they conform to the safety standard (BS EN 1836:2005). These will cost a little more, but cheaper versions may actually harm your child’s eyes instead of protecting them.
Look out for sunglasses with a rubber strap that fits comfortably around the back of your child’s head, as they’re more likely to stay on.
Opt for creams or sprays specially formulated for your infant’s skin because adult and kid creams may cause irritation. Choose one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Some companies make tinted sun creams so that you can see if you have missed a bit.
If you want to make sun protection more fun for your child, once you’ve applied sun cream carefully to his face, use some more to draw warrior stripes.
A canopy tends to offer more protection than a parasol, which needs adjusting as the sun moves around. Check that the canopy or parasol fits onto your type of buggy before you buy. If in doubt, find a version that will adjust to fit all models. Alternatively, choose an elasticated UV sun cover. These are made of dark, synthetic mesh and cover the whole seat area of the buggy so your baby is totally protected.
To avoid the extra hassle, make sure that you can open and close your buggy easily once the parasol is attached.
These pop-up shelters are made of nylon stretched on an aluminum frame and fold into a compact bag when not in use. They screen out up to 97 percent of UV rays and provide somewhere for your little one to sleep, eat his lunch or just take a break from the sun.
It’s worth even packing your cabana on cool days because they act as fantastic windbreaks. They come in baby or family sizes. Family-sized cabanas are pricier, but you’ll get many more holidays out of them.
Keeping my baby from getting a sunburn?
The best way to protect your baby is to keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Routinely dress him in a hat, lightweight pants, and a long-sleeved shirt for outings during the middle of the day. Tightly woven clothing protects better than loosely woven fabrics (to see how tight the weave is, hold the fabric up to a light — the less light that shines through, the better). Add UV-protective sunglasses if your baby will wear them. Use an umbrella, stroller canopy, or sun-protective tent to protect your baby while he’s outside.
Until August 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended against using any type of sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months, because their skin’s ability to metabolize and excrete chemicals may not be fully developed. This recommendation has been revised somewhat. You can use sunscreen on babies under 6 months if adequate clothing and shade aren’t available, but check with your pediatrician first. That doesn’t mean you should slather your baby in sunblock, though. Just apply a small amount of lotion to exposed areas.
For babies over 6 months, use a waterproof sunscreen designed for children. Choose a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum,” which means it protects against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens are good to use on particularly sensitive spots, such as the nose and lips.
The AAP and American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of at least 15, but many experts recommend SPF 30 or higher for babies, and many baby sunscreen formulas have even higher SPF. If possible, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it at least every two hours, especially if your baby has been playing in the water or has been sweating (even if the sunscreen is waterproof).
When trying a new sunscreen, do a patch test on your child’s back to make sure he doesn’t have a reaction to it. If he does develop a rash or redness at the test site, choose a hypoallergenic formula instead.
Top Five Sun Care Picks From EWG
We’ve established the importance of sun care, for your baby, and the entire family. At this time there aren’t any safety standards set by the FDA for sunscreens. So it is important for parents to know what they are truly rubbing into their baby’s bodies. A good example of the standards set for our sunscreens is the use of PABA (”a skin damaging chemical”, EWG) that was more widely used in the past. It still is, however, since there was an outcry from consumers with allergic reactions, companies use it less.
The bottom line is that we parents need to be aware that some sunscreens may be potentially more harmful than good. “Studies show that some traditional sunscreens like oxybenzone and octinoxate definitely absorb into healthy skin – in large amounts according to some studies – and act like estrogens in the body, raising risks for breast cancer, and showing effects like hormone-driven uterine damage in other studies”. 1
Take a look at your current sunscreen and you will probably find one of these ingredients, if not both. There is also some controversial concern with the micro-sized (nanosize) titanium and zinc. Are these particles so small that they can absorb through the skin and into our bloodstream? For now, it is considered safe (as long as the particles aren’t too small) on healthy skin. A good way to test is this if the sunscreen rubs clear onto your baby’s skin, it is nanosized. If it rubs on with some white, the particles are not too small.
Below we’ve listed the top five choices according to the Environmental Working Group. We always suggest, however, to do your own homework and then you can make an educated decision as to what is right for your family.
Environmental Working Groups Safest Sunscreen Picks
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance
4. Badger Sunscreen
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
Image Source: Rebecca Cannon