Top Shadow

Tips of the Week for July, 2016

Sun Safety: Information for Parents About Sunburn & Sunscreen

It's good for children and adults to spend time playing and exercising outdoors, and it's important to do so safely.

Simple Rules to Protect your Family from Sunburns

  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or the stroller canopy.
  • When possible, dress yourself and your children in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, such as lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
  • Select clothes made with a tight weave; they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you're not sure how tight a fabric's weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better. Or you can look for protective clothing labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
  • Wear a hat with an all-around 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears, and back of the neck.
  • Limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Look for child-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to protect his or her skin and eyes. Remember to set a good example by practicing sun safety yourself.


Sunscreen can help protect the skin from sunburn and some skin cancers but only if used correctly. Keep in mind that sunscreen should be used for sun protection, not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

How to Pick Sunscreen

  • Use a sunscreen that says "broad-spectrum" on the label; that means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 (up to SPF 50). An SPF of 15 or 30 should be fine for most people. More research studies are needed to test if sunscreen with more than SPF 50 offers any extra protection.
  • If possible, avoid the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties. Remember, though, that it's important to take steps to prevent sunburn, so using any sunscreen is better than not using sunscreen at all.
  • For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and shoulders, choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These products may stay visible on the skin even after you rub them in, and some come in fun colors that children enjoy.

How to Apply Sunscreen

  • Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and even backs of the knees. Rub it in well.
  • Put sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. It needs time to absorb into the skin.
  • Use sunscreen any time you or your child spend time outdoors. Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days because up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can get through the clouds. Also, UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete, so make sure you're protected.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Because most people use too little sunscreen, make sure to apply a generous amount.

Sunscreen for Babies

  • For babies younger than 6 months: Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
  • For babies older than 6 months: Apply to all areas of the body, but be careful around the eyes. If your baby rubs sunscreen into her eyes, wipe her eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen irritates her skin, try a different brand or sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. If a rash develops, talk with your child's doctor.


When to Call the Doctor

If your baby is younger than 1 year and gets sunburn, call your baby's doctor right away. For older children, call your child's doctor if there is blistering, pain, or fever.

How to Soothe Sunburn

Here are 5 ways to relieve discomfort from mild sunburn:

  • Give your child water or 100% fruit juice to replace lost fluids.
  • Use cool water to help your child's skin feel better.
  • Give your child pain medicine to relieve painful sunburns. (For a baby 6 months or younger, give acetaminophen. For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen.)
  • Only use medicated lotions if your child's doctor says it is OK.
  • Keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed.​

Additional Information

Last Updated



Fun in the Sun: Keep Your Family Safe (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 4/2014)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

All information provided by  For additional information including audio and links, please go to



How Virtual Violence Impacts Children’s Behavior: Steps for Parents

​By: David L. Hill, MD, FAAP

Science and common sense don't always tell us the same things, so it's especially satisfying when they agree. In the case of children's exposure to violent media, the science clearly confirms what we already suspect: what children watch and play changes how they behave.

Kids who experience more violence in their virtual worlds—television, movies, and video games—are more likely to display aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior, and angry feelings in the real world. See the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement, Virtual Violence.

"Not My Child"

Common sense, however, can still mislead us when it comes to thinking about our own children. Just as 93% of Americans report that they are better than average drivers, many of us tend to feel that the link between violent media and aggressive behavior affects other people's children. As a parent I've fallen into the same trap. I assume that violent games and programs can't affect my sweet son. Except that they do, and I have seen it.

The Blame Game

At the same time, we talk about what the science does show when we should talk about what it can't show. We will never be able to pin the blame for any single violent act on exposure to violent media, just as no one can say which hurricane or tornado results from global warming. What we can say is that violent media contributes to a certain amount of childhood and adolescent aggressive behavior. I think many would agree that anything we can do to reduce this aggressive behavior is well worth the effort.

Practical Steps Parents Can Take


  • If you have children under age 6, do your best to eliminate violent media content from their "media diet." Children this young don't have the capacity to distinguish fantasy from reality. Even cartoon violence alters how they understand the world.
  • Learn as much as you can about the media your children use. Refer to available ratings from industry (i.e., the Motion Picture Association of America, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board) and from nonprofits like Common Sense Media. Let those ratings guide what you allow in your home. Remember that "all my friends are allowed to watch it" remains the weakest argument in the kid book. See Movie Ratings and What They Mean.
  • Sit down and view or play with your children. Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of a really important aspect of their lives, you'll have a chance to offer an adult perspective on what they're seeing. You're guaranteed to find opportunities to share and explain the values that your family holds dear. Watch the video How to Bond with Your Child through Media.
  • Assess your children's shows and games with an eye toward what they're teaching. Is violence normalized? Funny? Sexy? Racist? Rewarded with money or status? Or are the painful, long-lasting consequences of violence dramatized? A more realistic look at the consequences of violence can provide kids needed perspective.
  • Feel empowered to restrict your children from playing games that reward shooting, killing, or harming other people. Video games are powerful teachers—they can help children learn to cooperate and help each other and to multitask in certain ways. However, video games can also reinforce a sense of constant danger and of positive reinforcement for violent acts. The gaming world offers enough compelling content that violence never has to be a part of entertainment.

Raising Peaceful Children in a Violent World

People have been hoping and praying for world peace for as long as there have been people and a world, and none of us expects to see aggression or violence eliminated in our lifetimes. We know, however, that helping our children choose less violent entertainment can make a very real difference in behavior for some kids, and that's an awfully good start.​

Additional Information & Resources:


About Dr. Hill:

David Hill, MD, FAAP, practices at KidzCare Pediatrics in Wilmington, NC and serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNC Medical School. He chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media (COCM) and serves on the board of the North Carolina Pediatric Society. Dr. Hill won the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award in 2013 for Dad To Dad: Parenting Like A Pro. He writes and broadcasts on child care issues for local and national radio, television, print, and internet-based media. Dr. Hill lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife, three children, and two step children.  



David L. Hill, MD, FAAP

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2016)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


All information provided by  For additional information including links, audio, and video, please go to the following address:


Bicycle Helmets: What Every Parent Should Know

How can I tell if a helmet will keep my child safe?

You should only buy a helmet that meets the bicycle helmet safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Any helmet meeting these standards is labeled. Check the inside.

Do all helmets meet these standards?

All helmets manufactured or imported for use after March 1999 must comply with a mandatory safety standard issued by the CPSC.

Can other kinds of helmets be used for bicycling?

Each type of helmet is designed for protection in specific conditions and may not offer enough protection in bike crashes or falls. Bike helmets are very protective in head-first falls at fairly high speeds, and are light and well ventilated for comfort and acceptability. A multisport helmet, certified to meet the CPSC standard for bicycle helmets, also is acceptable.

Where can I get a helmet?

Helmets meeting CPSC safety standards are available at bicycle shops and at some discount, department, and toy stores in adult, children, and toddler's sizes and styles. Do not resell, donate, or buy a used bike helmet because it may be too old to provide protection or may have been in a crash.

Which is better, hard-shell or soft-shell helmets?

The essential part of the helmet for impact protection is a thick layer of firm polystyrene, plastic foam, that crushes on impact, absorbing the force of the blow. All helmets require a chin strap to keep them in place in a crash.

Hard-shell helmets also have a hard outer shell of plastic or fiberglass that provides a shield against penetration by sharp objects and holds the polystyrene together if it cracks in a fall or crash. These helmets are more sturdy, but tend to be heavier and warmer than the soft-shell models.

Soft-shell helmets have no hard outer shell but are made of an extra-thick layer of polystyrene covered with a cloth cover or surface coating. The cloth cover is an essential part of many soft-shell helmets. If the helmet comes with a cover, the cover must always be worn to hold the helmet together if the polystyrene cracks on impact.

Both types of helmets meet CPSC standards; the main difference is style and comfort. The soft-shell helmets are lighter than the hard shell versions but may be less durable.

Although there is no consensus on the relative safety of the 2 types, models of both types have passed the CPSC test. The soft-shell helmets are lighter than the hard-shell versions but may be less durable.

How should a helmet fit?

A helmet should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. If it is tipped back, it will not protect the forehead. The helmet fits well if it doesn't move around on the head or slide down over the wearer's eyes when pushed or pulled. The chin strap should be adjusted to fit snugly.

Are there helmets for infants?

Yes. Many infant-sized helmets are of the soft-shell variety. They are light, an important consideration for small children whose necks may not be strong enough to comfortably hold a hard-shell helmet. Babies younger than 1 year have relatively weak neck structure. Neither helmets nor bike traveling is recommended for them.

How long will a child's helmet fit?

An infant's or child's helmet should fit for several years. Most models have removable fitting pads that can be replaced with thinner ones as the child's head grows.

Can a helmet be reused after a crash?

In general, a helmet that has been through a serious fall or crash should be retired with gratitude. It has served its purpose and may not provide adequate protection in another crash. If you are uncertain whether the helmet is still usable, throw it away.

Last Updated



TIPP: The Injury Prevention Program (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/2005, Reaffirmed 10/12)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


All information provided by  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following website:


Bottom Shadow
Copyright ©2010 by Goldsboro Pediatrics. All rights reserved.
Web Design by Evolve, Inc.
Bottom Shadow