Sunscreens you want to avoid with your children

By Sandra Ali, Local 4 Reporter, Anchor, @SandraAliTV, sali@wdiv.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:31:20 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2014 04:47:33 PM EDT

The sprays and lotions you use on your children to keep them safe in the sun could contain some harmful chemicals.

My little ones love being outside. And we always make sure to slather on lots of sunscreen.

But a few weeks ago, after using a popular sunscreen spray, I noticed red, itchy bumps and irritation all over my son and daughter’s chest, arms and legs.

When I started to look into it, I found out that I wasn’t the only one who had seen the same reaction to certain kinds of sunscreen. In fact, pediatricians said it’s something they see quite often.

Earlier this summer, the Environmental Working Group came out with its recommendations for the safety sunscreens for babies and children. All of the sunscreens on the list don’t contain any potential hormone disruptors, which experts say can be harmful -- especially for young boys.

[Web extra: EWG's Guide to Sunscreens]

"In general, anything that is potentially absorbed in your body has the potential to cause harm,” said Local 4’s Dr. Frank McGeorge. “You're looking for things that are minerals in general, like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, those aren’t going to be absorbed. The less absorbed they are the less likely they are to cause harmful side effects.”

The safest sunscreens?

  • Aveeno Baby
  • Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple
  • Babyganics
  • Badger Baby
  • Think Baby 

Overall, the environmental group recommends staying away from spray-on lotions and powders as well as those containing oxybenzone or Vitamin A.

But despite the risks, it’s not worthy ditching sunscreen altogether.

“Your number one priority is protecting yourself from the sun. Chemicals that are in the sunscreens are important to try and avoid, especially with children, but we don’t know exactly how dangerous they are just yet,” McGeorge said.  "We think that there might be some risks with some sunscreens, but that’s not so clearly identified. I would take the known risk preventer over the possible risk any day right now.”

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