Sunburns or insect bites may feel like an inescapable part of summer, but both can be prevented.

To protect your child’s skin, use the following tips: Apply and reapply. Sunscreen is not a one-and-done method of protection.

“Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours,” says Carrie Coughlin, MD, a Washington University pediatric dermatologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “If your  child is sweating a lot or swimming, reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes.”

  • Avoid midday sun. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade during this time of day, if possible.
  • Dig the DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using insect repellents containing  10 to 30 percent DEET for children over 2 months of  age. The AAP does not recommend going above 30 percent for children.
  • Dress to protect. “Long sleeves and pants can protect from insect bites and sun damage,” Dr. Coughlin says. “Clothes with an ultraviolet protection factor are often lightweight and made to be worn in the sun.”
  • Think zinc. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they work as a shield against the sun and are active the minute you apply them to the skin.

    “They’re also a good fit for children with sensitive  or eczema-prone skin,” Dr. Coughlin says.

Want more tips on how to keep your family safe this summer? Call our Center for Families at 800.678.KIDS (5437) and select option “5.”