Your Sunscreen May Be Poisoning Your Kids

Jacqueline Burt Cote

kid sunglassesBefore you pick up supplies for your Memorial Day Weekend picnic, read this! Some of your favorite kids' sunscreens might not be doing their job as well as you thought. A recent guide to sunscreen products revealed some surprising facts about effectiveness and safety.

I was shocked (and bummed!) to learn that sunscreen sprays are a big no-no, because their chemicals can be inhaled. (I love how easy the sprays are to use on my kids' bodies, and for some reason they don't put up as much of a fuss about being sprayed as they do about me slathering them with lotion.)

I was also super disappointed by the list of kids' sunscreen products whose toxic ingredients, instability, and/or lack of UVA protection landed them in the report's "Hall of Shame." 

Among the offenders: Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55, and Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50.

So how do you pick the right sunscreen?

  • Avoid potential toxins like retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone; instead, choose products whose active ingredients are zinc or titanium.
  • Make sure your sunscreen includes both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Don't bother with the crazy high numbers; no matter what the bottle says, they're no more effective than SPF 30.

Need a cheat sheet? The Environmental Working Group has some safe sunscreen recommendations to choose from, including Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen Kids SPF 30, Badger Baby Sunscreen SPF 30, and Earth's Best: Sunblock Mineral Based SPF 30.

Will you be trading in your usual sunscreen this year?


Image via Dylan Parker/Flickr

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