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#1 of 19 Old 10-27-2008, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you all do to protect your babies and toddlers from the sun? Hats are great, of course, but do you do long sleeves? Sun screen?

Are there any safe sunscreens? I don't use them myself because I hate feeling oily and I think they hurt more than help - they make us think we can stand more sun than we should... And I think they have harmful chemicals in them.

What do you do? Fortunately, the cold days : are coming and I have some time to figure it out before next spring. My LO is currently 4 mo.:

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#2 of 19 Old 10-27-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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We use sun screen all the time. I'm actually looking for a safe, good brand of sun screen. I just use stuff I find at target or wherever right now.

SAHM to Ninja Boy (6) surf.gif and Monkey Man (4) carrot.gif.

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#3 of 19 Old 10-27-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I live in New Mexico where it is sunny pretty much year round (we grilled last night and it was beautiful!) We do sunscreen only when we'll be out for a long time (the zoo, park, etc.) My kids won't wear hats for long. We drink TONS of water and get inside when we feel the need. That's pretty much it.

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#4 of 19 Old 10-27-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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We use sun screen all the time. I'm actually looking for a safe, good brand of sun screen. I just use stuff I find at target or wherever right now.
This is what we do too. DS won't keep a hat on him at all and it's too hot for long sleeves most of the time here. DS is pretty fair like me so we wear sunscreen every time we go out to play.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#5 of 19 Old 10-28-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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I bought longsleeved swimshirts and swimshorts from coolibar for the kids, and a set for myself with tights instead of shorts. It's SO much easier to only have to lotion up a few little parts, so I'm fine with the dorky look. My mom rags us about it a little (not the kids, just in comments to me) but it's my choice!
We wear sunhats as much as possible and I made solarveil and solarweave shirts and pants for the kids to play in - those get used sometimes but not too consistently. Long pants and sleeves are actually helpful for bugs, too - we live near a wetlands (BIG mistake, we need to move! my DH is a bug magnet and the kids inherited it ) But I couldn't get away with the long sleeves and pants as often as I do, if we didn't live in New England.
I was on a hunt for the "best" "safe" sunscreen last year... sigh. It's tough. Some I tried were UV Naturals (hated it, super greasy), California Baby (not too bad, a bit thick and hard to spread) and TruKids (my favorite so far, although it has a citrus smell that some people might not like. I didn't like the sticks, though, just the lotion). I'm also considering trying Mexitan next year, that's supposed to be relatively safe. Depending on what you count as "safe" in a sunscreen (debates over micronized (sp?) titanium and zinc oxides, etc) you might like or not like some of those. Oh, I never tried Badger Balm or Burts Bees (can't remember which has sunscreen in their product line) because I personally didn't like their scents, but those might be ok too.
Good luck, it's tough!

ETA I just realized I'm coming across as a total sun-avoidance freak - I should say this is ALL the research I've done over the past 4 years, and I use each version of sun protection at different times, so I just happen to have a lot of choices for sun protection if I want them. I think it's kinda like the fact that I had, like, 6 baby carriers for one baby, and used them all, just in different circumstances, not at the same time!
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#6 of 19 Old 10-28-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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i try to just use common sense about it. kids need some sun exposure to allow their bodies to produce vitamin D. i've read a lot of information about vitamin D deficiencies in kids lately, and most sunscreen doesn't do a great job blocking the UV rays that cause skin cancer but they do block the UV rays that help your body create vitamin D.

so what i do is to try and keep burn-prone areas covered - like their shoulders by keeping short-sleeves on them, and their faces by keeping hats on them. certain spots that are harder to cover, like the back of DS's neck and the tops of his ears get sunscreen. arms and legs don't ever get sunscreen unless we're going to be outside all day long with not a lot of shade (like at the beach). and at those times i wait a while before applying the sunscreen, so i know the kids have been able to soak up some sun before blocking it.

when i do need to use sunscreen in those certain instances, i use the California Baby. i did a lot of research last year on sunscreens, and that's the one i ended up feeling was best for us overall. i would not put regular sunscreen on my kids.
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#7 of 19 Old 10-29-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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We use California Baby or Badger sunscreens. CA Baby is less greasy, but Badger is cheaper. They both protect well, only contain ingredients that are considered "safe," and are fairly waterproof.

I like the CA baby with citronella in it - I like the smell, and we had a terrible mosquito problem here this summer, so it was nice to have a little protection from that while hiking or playing outdoors by the river.

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#8 of 19 Old 10-29-2008, 07:05 PM
 
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Great sunhats that cover that vulnerable spot at the back of the neck: http://www.theportablebaby.com/sunhat.html

Sunscreen: We use UV Natural, but as a PP said it is very greasy if you use too much. I find that putting a small amount on my hands, rubbing together to spread it out, then patting it on evenly and rubbing it in well keeps it from being too greasy. I decided to avoid titanium oxide (which is in CA Baby) until there is more research. We also don't use sunscreen during winter unless we'll be exposed for more than a couple of hours.
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#9 of 19 Old 10-29-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lizajane30 View Post
Great sunhats that cover that vulnerable spot at the back of the neck: http://www.theportablebaby.com/sunhat.html
I really like those hats. I just wish DS would let me keep one on his head. Even with a chin strap he'll still tub at it until he can get it off.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#10 of 19 Old 10-30-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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DD is super fair, but I want her to get lots of Vitamin D. This past summer, I took her out as often as possible between 10 am and 2 pm without sunscreen, but we made sure to stay out no longer than 45-60 minutes. Sometimes I put a hat on her if I thought we would be out a bit longer. She got a very, very light tan. We would go out again later in the day, but I didn't worry about sunscreen that late. We used sunscreen (titanium dioxide) perhaps 2-3 times.
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#11 of 19 Old 10-30-2008, 09:01 PM
 
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I'm a redhead and have had skin cancer.

wear sunscreen.

I always have some of the spritz kind in my bag. I always get "baby" because it's, like, SPF 9000.
Don't be like me, don't get skin cancer, wear sunscreen all the time, in the winter, in the morning, every day. Or get a hat, but I hate hats because I have a GIANT Irish head covered in dreadlocks.

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#12 of 19 Old 10-30-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kriket View Post

wear sunscreen.
I'm not with you here. : I was reading recently that the worst sun damage occurs in individuals who use commercial moisturizers, which create toxic oxidation in the skin when struck by the UV rays. This is similar to what critics say about most chemical sun blocks. Also, for the record, many experts say that any SPF above 40 is just a marketing gimmick, it is not possible to protect the skin to such an extent.

We're all about trying to stay inside during the hours of most intense sun if there is no shade available. Otherwise, *** I have observed that the kids will naturally seek shade under trees or in the shade of buildings to play and will not let themselves get burned.*** When too much sun exposure is inevitable - like at the beach, or when out boating with friends - we put on some Burt's Bees or Dr. Hauschka mineral-based cream, but this is necessary only a few times in the season. We don't use moisturizers, either. We just put olive oil into our bath water. Hats are a good idea, but kids usually take them off so I don't count them as reliable protection. My kids also like to peel off their T-shirts, so I really do try to keep them in during the worst hours.

Something else: sun damage can be made visible by looking at the skin under a black light. When I was a grad student, my university had a health fair and there was a tent where some volunteers would let you look at your reflection under a black light. They then told you how much sun damage you had, and - you guessed it - passed out free samples of sunscreen, with instructions that you should wear it all the time. I have always been skeptical of sunscreen and was curious how my skin would look. The volunteers said that they had hardly ever seen such good skin, and couldn't believe I was 10 years older than most of the other faces they were looking at which already had significant "sun damage." I told the volunteers I almost never use sunscreen - or moisturizers - and they were flabbergasted. They told me I should start using them at once if I didn't want to have burns, wrinkles, and cancer. I told them they should look up some alternative information.

We all reach our own conclusions, but I put more faith in Nature than in chemical factories.
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#13 of 19 Old 10-30-2008, 10:16 PM
 
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I personally feel that as a culture we have gone a little overboard with the fear of the sun. Obviously baking outside in midsummer while slathered with coconut oil is not the swell plan we once thought it was, but the sun is actually good for us in moderation. This is not to downplay the experiences of people who have had skin cancer, I only want to say that, like so many things, total abstinence is not the answer for most people.

So far (my girl is 2 and a half now) we've mostly gotten away with avoidance as our main sun protection scheme and I thought we would eventually have to alter it, but its been working. Basically we wear hats and sleeves when we're out and make an effort to stay away from unshaded places during the middle of the day. On the rare occasions when that is not possible (day at the zoo, day at the beach, whatever) we use california baby sunscreen and we have baths when we get home so that it isn't left on the skin for extended periods of time.

I've read some studies that indicate that although sunscreen use is increasing, skin cancer is not decreasing, and that some people are beginning to wonder if there is an element of sun that is not blocked by sunscreen which contributes to cancer. If this is true than wearing sunscreen is not always the best plan because it could make it easier for you to expose yourself to more sun than you would if you were getting burned or concerned about getting burned, y/k? At any rate I'm more comfortable with physical methods like hats, sleeves, and trees, so that's what we use.

By the end of the summer we all have a very faint hint of color on our arms, legs and faces. I have a pretty good selection of LARGE sunhats, which always attract attention from passersby and maybe DD is more content to wear her hat and sunglasses because I'm always wearing mine, I don't know but it's working out for us.

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#14 of 19 Old 10-31-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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We use Neutrogena Ultra sheer dry touch sun block SPF 70 in a tube and we use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body mist sun block SPF 70 in a spray can.

Before anyone reacts weirdly about non natural... our son has a skin disorder where not all layers of his skin are there.... you and me if you scraped our skin and looked under a microscope, we would have 7, scrape his, depending on the spot, might be 2, might be 3, might be 7... Skin is the biggest organ of the body. It is what protects us from the outside world... don't have skin... what would our bodies look like?... a big of blob of gloo and bones in a puddle... okay that's not true, but hey skin is pretty important.

the black light thingy... my little guy, he glowed in the dark under on of those... at 2 weeks old at the one doctor's office... it's pretty amazing to see him under one, the areas of skin where it is 'thin' just glows. He's 4 yrs now and thinks it's 'really cool' he glows in the dark, but his big brother doesn't Gotta take the fun from the differences in our bodies right!?

We have thought long and hard the pros and cons of none, the natural stuff, this stuff, other brands.... We use the tube stuff for arms, legs, face, body parts, we use the spray for the top of his head... he has bald spots and with the creamy stuff he looks like he has a big glob of white zinc smeared on the top of his head... so we use the spray that is invisible and he doesn't get pointed at all the time. I have used the spray when I have been in the sun and there is no one around 'to get my back' or I'm somewhere that I just don't want to walk up to a total stranger and say, hey will you rub this lotion stuff on my back (where's the batty eye smile?)

If you are going to wear sunscreen and really want it to protect you then put it on a half hour or so before you go out, don't 'wait til I get there' to apply it.

Don't store the stuff in a hot car, have you ever seen a bottle of separated sunscreen that you have to shake because if not it's all weird... well there's a reason it did that... it got cooked... just like a piece of broccoli put in boiling water, not the same as a fresh spear.

If you sweat, swim, towel off, get hugged by everyone in sight.. it will rub/wear off keep applying it.

If you find a brand that you like during the peak season when it's in the store, stock up buy an extra tube or bottle, come winter might not be able to find it... and yes the sun is out in the winter too.

We do the cover up thing too... the fancy clothing is nice... but what you are looking for is a tight weave.... think cheesecloth that's all holey... you will end up with polka dots... think a spandex top... you will have a very white area of skin under it... okay so you don't have to go to the extreme of head to toe spandex... please if you have a butt like mine... DON"T! close weave, go through your closet, hold a shirt up to the light, which one blocks more sun? wear that one...

polka dots... you know those holey football shirts... my brother used to make it a point to always get a 'sun burn' every time he wore that shirt... he thought it was fun to take his shirt off and have spots... okay leopard, your weird! that looks pretty cool!

If you want good sun protection that's 'natural' and I'm serious here... go find a puddle of mud and smear your body with it.... okay so you may not want to go into that fancy place... oh yeah, they won't let you in that fancy place... but it's pretty natural and it's going to protect you. Let your kids play in the mud, let them run around butt naked in the yard after they have smeared themselves head to toe in mud for 3 or 4 hours, even during the brightest intense sunniest part of the day... once you get all the mud off you will notice they do not even have a hint of red to their skin (well that red clay in some parts of the world may stain...) but the mud will protect you.

oh and mud is pretty cheap too...
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#15 of 19 Old 10-31-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Oh and about sunhats... I know there are some people, both children and adults that just will not wear a hat... a head sensitivity... but for the most part, generally speaking If you insist that your child always wear a hat when they are outside they will do it. It is difficult at the early ages... up to a year... even after a year, maybe even worse at those ages. You have to be the one to constantly remind, put your hat on, you have to retrieve the hat a zillion times and put it back on their heads... just make it a rule, one of those there is no other option type rules and keep at it. warning though, it WILL backfire on you at some point... the day you are extremely late to receive the Nobel peace prize or something... they can't find their hat so you spend the next 45 minutes looking for it, then your late for your ceremony... buy a couple of hats!

oh and sunglasses... wear those too, and not those cheapy ones that are just for looks, or a pair of kids toy sunglasses that is just a piece of saran wrap that is tinted... gotta keep those eyes working good so that you can see the cancers on your body since you aren't wearing sunscreen or mud
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#16 of 19 Old 10-31-2008, 03:26 AM
 
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I'm a sun protection fanatic. Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and Queensland, the state where I live, has the highest rates in Australia. I burn super easily, and my son has similar colouring to me. I can literally feel my skin sizzling after 5-10 minutes of sun exposure, with or without sunscreen. Any more than an hour or two in the sun and I end up with sunstroke - headache, nausea, vomiting, fever. It's not fun.

We basically follow the Cancer Council's "Slip Slop Slap" guidelines - slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.

And we almost never go outdoors in the sun between 11am-1pm. Even being in the shade doesn't help, as reflected sun is just as damaging (e.g. reflecting off water if you're sitting on a balcony above the beach, or reflecting off the grass at a sports stadium). I've gotten burnt lots of times when my skin hasn't seen a direct ray of sunlight at all - just reflected light.

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#17 of 19 Old 10-31-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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I try to keep my kids out of the hot mid day sun if I can. I do let be exposed to some early morning/late afternoon sun to get some vitamin D.

When we're out in the sun, they wear long sleeves/pants, and sun hats. I bought them long sleeve/long pant sun suits for the beach. I try to find parks that have some sort of shade. I do use sunscreen, but as a last resort, and buy the less-toxic kind.

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#18 of 19 Old 10-31-2008, 08:47 PM
 
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NAK
Here is a great place to research healthy sunscreens:
http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/index.php?nothanks=1

lucky mom to Oliver, 8/6/07, and Finn, 11/28/10, and wife to DH
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#19 of 19 Old 11-01-2008, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mimie View Post
We use California Baby or Badger sunscreens. CA Baby is less greasy, but Badger is cheaper. They both protect well, only contain ingredients that are considered "safe," and are fairly waterproof.

I like the CA baby with citronella in it - I like the smell, and we had a terrible mosquito problem here this summer, so it was nice to have a little protection from that while hiking or playing outdoors by the river.
Same here. Both are mineral-based blockers, not chemical.

We also use UV clothing for swim time or outright suntime, etc.

The UV exposure for Vitamin D where I live is minutes per week, honestly, because my child and I are both very fair. There is plenty exposure in walking from car to store and back, etc. It depends on where you live, but the exposure needed for healthy levels is really not that much at all, especially if you're fair-skinned to begin with.

Any tan at all makes it more difficult for body to create Vitamin D from sun exposure. Any tan at all is damage to the skin and heightens chances for skin cancer down the road, because it's consistent UV exposure.

Sunscreen is a good thing. I do believe the mineral blockers are better than the chemical ones (as the chemical ones themselves carry potential risk, I think). Yet it's not recommended for babes under 6 months because their skin is so thin still. But it's a lot easier to keep an infant out of the sun than a toddler, IME.

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