Spray or rub on? SPF 15 or 30 or 45 or even higher? What kind of sunscreen is best for children? Riley Hospital pediatric dermatologist Patricia Treadwell, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics, says that a water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and which is broad spectrum, providing protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, is best. “It doesn’t matter whether its spray or rub on. What matters is that the skin is well and repeatedly protected, even on cloudy days. Parents should encourage their children to play in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is most damaging to human skin.”
Summertime and the living may not be easy. The kids are out of school and many parents have put together elaborate daily schedules to keep their offspring busy from morning until night. Riley Hospital for Children psychologist Michele Thorne, Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine assistant professor of psychiatry, says parents should let their child know that it’s a good idea to take a little down time during a busy day. “While they may love ballet lessons, swimming and softball, kids can be overwhelmed by constant activity. Even after a kid has aged out of nap time, a quiet time without distractions helps kids (and adults!) cope with their hectic days,” she says.
Flip flops are getting a bad rap, according to Riley Hospital for Children pediatrician Michael McKenna, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, who says that wearing the popular summer shoe does not lead to joint pain, shin splints and twisted ankles any more than any other style of shoe. In fact, he notes, flip flops are better than high heels. “Flip flops are a fine choice in warm weather. What is important is protecting the foot. Flips flops are not the best choice for walking on very hot pavement, on rocky trails or, in spite of teen insistence to the contrary, in cold winter months.”
Summer is rash season so wash your hands! Viruses that cause diarrhea thrive in warm weather and young children are often lax about washing hands that they then put into their mouths. The result can be a nasty rash. Riley Hospital for Children pediatrician Michael McKenna, M.D. , Indiana University School of Medicine assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, suggests that parents be extra vigilant about hand washing with soap and water or, if not accessible, with a hand sanitizer. To ensure that young children spend sufficient time on hand washing, he encourages parents to teach children to sing the ABC song slowly as they lather.