Kids & Sun Safety: Don't miss these 5 spots!

photo credit: getty imagesphoto credit: getty imagesA few weeks ago I was with family friends and we were applying sunscreen on our kids as we prepared for a day of outdoor fun.

"Don't forget the backs of their legs!" one mom said. I realized I'd always forgotten to protect the backs of my boys' legs -- a spot very exposed to sun when they're wearing shorts -- with sunscreen.

When we cover kids with sunscreen, we always go for the apparent exposed areas like the shoulders, arms, face, nose, and legs. But what are we forgetting to cover?

I asked Latanya Benjamin, a pediatric dermatologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, for areas that are often forgotten when putting sunscreen on our kids. Next time you're gearing up for a day in the sun, Dr. Benjamin recommends you make sure not to miss these spots:

  • Ears. You've covered your kid's nose and cheeks with sunscreen, but make sure you also get the tops and rims of their ears.
  • Behind the neck. Even if your kid is wearing a cap, slather on the sunscreen. "Baseball caps offer 80 percent protection from the sun for just the face, but the back of the neck is frequently exposed to the sun, said Dr. Benjamin. "You need that sunscreen for extra measure."
  • Tops of the hands: Parents of little ones are often concerned about putting sunscreen on their baby's hands because they could rub their eyes or put their fingers in their mouths. But once kids are past this stage, make sure you're covering the tops of their hands with sunscreen.
  • Behind the knees and on calves. If your kids are wearing shorts, skirts or bathing suits, cover the whole leg, back and fronts.
  • Tops of Feet and toes. Ever had a sunburn on the tops of your feet? Beyond ouch. Make sure you put sunscreen on your kid's feet and toes whenever they are wearing sandals or are going barefoot outdoors.

What about your child's scalp? While there are some sunscreens that you can put in your kid's hair, they won't reach the scalp. "The best protection is a hat," said Dr. Benjamin. "For babies, use sunscreen and hats. When they are outside playing, they need shade. Babies should have strollers with canopies or play under canopies."

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