Are spray sunscreens good for children?

WASHINGTON — They are easy and quick, but spray on sunscreens may not be the best way to protect little kids.

These aerosols can be very effective in preventing sunburn. But there are concerns that a squirmy child could accidentally inhale one of the skin protecting chemicals they contain, like zinc oxide.

The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates sunscreens, launched an investigation in 2011, but has yet to come out with any recommendation. Consumer Reports and many pediatricians advise until the FDA comes out with its recommendations, it may be best to err on the side of caution.
They suggest switching to lotions or creams, though they largely agree even an aerosol sunscreen is better than none at all.

If you have to use it, it is best to spray it your hands first and then rub it on the kids. And of course no one — child or adult — should ever spray a sunscreen directly on their face.

WTOP’s Paula Wolfson contributed to this report

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