Here’s a quick recap of current sun safety recommendations:
Babies under 6 months: seek the shade of trees, an umbrella or the stroller canopy. Use sunscreen on small areas that can’t be covered.
Over six months? Australia’s Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign is tops. See a vintage clip here.
Slip on light, loose, protective clothing. Tightly woven fabric blocks the sun best.
Slop on sunscreen.
Slap on a hat.
Pick a sunscreen that says broad spectrum that will block UVA and UVB. Products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work best—try for at least 4% of these ingredients—and are perfect for sensitive areas like the face, nose, shoulders.
Look for an SPF of 15 or higher. A newer system awards 1 to 4 starts for how well the product works. Skin Deep, the Cosmetics Safety Database from Environmental Working Group, rates sunscreens for safety here. Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before going out into the sun and again every 2 hours.
For pool and ocean, it’s hard to beat rash guard swim tops for protection. Even better, your older child should be able to apply sunscreen to all the areas the top doesn’t cover by themselves, but it’s always a good idea to check their work.