Handle With Care: Safe Sun Products for Kids

This article first appeared on the PlayOutdoors blog.

Recently, I heard Fabien Cousteau, grandson to undersea legend Jacques Cousteau, speaking to Oprah about the need to protect our oceans. He told the Queen of Daytime TV, “You wouldn’t let a child open up a cabinet under the sink and start tasting the chemicals down there, so why would you dump those chemicals down the drain and have them end up on your plate, which you then feed to your child?”

His remark got me thinking about the similar irony of what we freely put on our children’s skin. You wouldn’t hand your child a BPA-free Nalgene bottle full of chemical Kool-Aid; and yet many parents unknowingly slather body care products laced with allergens, neurotoxins, and hormone-disrupting chemicals on their children every day. The non-profit, Environmental Working Group analyzed over 1,700 children’s products and found that “on any given day children are exposed to an average of 27 ingredients not found safe for kids by FDA…”Just because a product says “Natural” or Hypoallergenic” doesn’t mean it is so. In the case of sunscreens and lotions, you can’t read the book by its cover because the cover isn’t regulated. The ingredients label is much more informative. A few nasties you want to avoid are: sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, masking fragrances, and petrochemicals. As a general rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t put it on your child’s skin.

Thankfully, many companies are responding to the need for safe skin care products for children. All Terrain offers chemical-free sunscreens, bug repellents, and anti-bacterial wipes just in time for all those wonderful summer adventures in the great outdoors. I am also a big fan of children’s clothing with built-in sunscreen. What could be simpler? Stylish items by Patagonia and Snapper Rock provide instant safe sun protection for days spent surfing at the beach, swimming in the pool, or just kicking it in the backyard.

If you’d like to see more chemical-free products such as these, be sure to visit CosmeticsDatabase.com and sign Environmental Working Group’s petition to congress asking for more protection against chemical-laden skin care products for kids.

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